"With firm conviction, we say: No more war! Let us stop all conflicts." These were the words of His Holiness Pope Francis during the closing ceremony of the annual 'Spirit of Assisi' prayer for peace with religious leaders which was held on 25 October, 2022 at the Colosseum. Such words reverberated in the five continents of the world as well as affirmatively and strongly urged world leaders to end wars and conflicts by resorting to the logic of peace.
This firm and unwavering conviction was launched during the three-day peace summit, held under the theme 'Il Grido della Pace' (The Cry for Peace), which was hosted by the Community of Sant’Egidio, and has been welcoming presidents, religious leaders, and various high-ranking authorities.
The appeal made by religious leaders at the end of summit states: "We are at a crossroads. We can either be the generation that lets the planet and humanity die, the one that accumulates and trades weapons, living under the illusion of being able to save ourselves against others, or we can be the generation that creates new ways of living together, that does not invest in weapons, that abolishes war as a means of conflict resolution and stops the excessive exploitation of planetary resources."
With the conflagrations taking place in the heart of Europe and elsewhere in the world, it is important to help instill hearts with love and peace as well as pave the way for reconciliation among all peoples.
After World War II, the world experienced a relatively state of stability with minor conflicts raging from time to time at a small scale. Yet, in February 24, 2022 a major war broke out in the heart of Europe, namely between Russia and Ukraine, which has had grave repercussions in all parts of the world triggering global food and energy crises among others.
On January 21, 2021 Pope Francis appealed for all nations to work toward a world without nuclear weapons. Stating that the nuclear weapons strike large numbers of people in a short space of time and provoke long-lasting damage to the environment, he called for working with determination to promote the conditions necessary to maintain a world without nuclear arms.
Pope Francis' views on weapons and wars have been echoed by Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, when he addressed the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, October 24, 2022. He spoke of the evils of the arms trade, saying:“Shamefully, there are those who accumulate great wealth through trafficking in the instruments of death.” He also discussed the dangers of the misuse of communications technology, arguing that “our technical prowess has brought us to a crossroads.”
He quoted Pope Francis saying, “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood.”
With Ukraine-Russia war raging and reaching uncontrolled limits and with warring sides hinting from time to resorting to weapons of mass destruction, this is really the right time to grasp the lessons learned from previous wars which complicated life and produced a decrepit world bereft of any promising future for the new generations.
With the power outage prevailing in major parts of the Ukraine, people are having no access to heating in this cold weather as they are also short of clean drinking water. The outcome of this war implies loss of future opportunities for a good life including housing, education, jobs, and health service among others.
The United Nations, which is entrusted with preserving world peace, has so far failed to put an end to the war raging in Europe. So long that the United Nations has not produced a formula acceptable to the warring parties to end the conflict, it is due time for world leaders to heed the call of Pope Francis and hold constructive talks that would snowball into nailing down a settlement that would end this war and any future conflict.
Let us heed the call of Pope Francis and pray for peace at a time when more that 840,000 people from 140 countries have joined in praying the rosary on October 18 to ask for peace and unity throughout the world. The pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) organized this annual prayer initiative which saw parishes, schools, and families from around the globe taking part.
We entrust the entire world to the Prince of Peace, Lord Jesus Christ, Who will definitely answer our prayers and instill quiet, love, compassion, and mercy in the hearts of the peoples of the world.