Skip to comments.Francis: War is Always a Defeat for Humanity (100,000+ attend Vatican vigil)
Posted on 09/07/2013 2:27:28 PM PDT by NYer
People attend a prayer calling for peace in Syria leaded by Pope Francis in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican September 7, 2013. Pope Francis has invited people of all faiths to join a day of fasting and prayer to call for an end to the conflict in Syria on Saturday. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
The Square was crowded with people since the morning; among them there were many who wished to confess, from 5.45 onwards, to one of the fifty priests in the Constantine Wing and below the colonnade; Francis wanted confessors to be present on this day as true peace is born of the human heart reconciled with God and with one's brothers. At 18.30, the words uttered by the Pope last Sunday were repeated as an introduction to the Vigil which began at 7 p.m. with a greeting from the Pope and the singing of the Veni Creator, followed by the enthroning of the image of the Virgin as Salus Populi Romani, carried by four Swiss Guards.
The Pope began by praying the Rosary; each mystery was accompanied by the reading of a poem by St. Therese of Lisieux about the child Jesus, and at the end he invoked Maria: Queen of Peace, pray for us. He then pronounced the following homily:
'And God saw that it was good'. The biblical account of the beginning of the history of the world and of humanity speaks to us of a God who looks at creation, in a sense contemplating it, and declares: 'it is good'. This, dear brothers and sisters, allows us to enter into Gods heart and, precisely from within him, to receive his message. We can ask ourselves: what does this message mean? What does it say to me, to you, to all of us?
It says to us simply that this, our world, in the heart and mind of God, is the 'house of harmony and peace', and that it is the space in which everyone is able to find their proper place and feel 'at home', because it is 'good'. All of creation forms a harmonious and good unity, but above all humanity, made in the image and likeness of God, is one family, in which relationships are marked by a true fraternity not only in words: the other person is a brother or sister to love, and our relationship with God, who is love, fidelity and goodness, mirrors every human relationship and brings harmony to the whole of creation. Gods world is a world where everyone feels responsible for the other, for the good of the other. This evening, in reflection, fasting and prayer, each of us deep down should ask ourselves: Is this really the world that I desire? Is this really the world that we all carry in our hearts? Is the world that we want really a world of harmony and peace, in ourselves, in our relations with others, in families, in cities, in and between nations? And does not true freedom mean choosing ways in this world that lead to the good of all and are guided by love?
But then we wonder: Is this the world in which we are living? Creation retains its beauty which fills us with awe and it remains a good work. But there is also 'violence, division, disagreement, war'. This occurs when man, the summit of creation, stops contemplating beauty and goodness, and withdraws into his own selfishness.
When man thinks only of himself, of his own interests and places himself in the centre, when he permits himself to be captivated by the idols of dominion and power, when he puts himself in Gods place, then all relationships are broken and everything is ruined; then the door opens to violence, indifference, and conflict. This is precisely what the passage in the Book of Genesis seeks to teach us in the story of the Fall: man enters into conflict with himself, he realizes that he is naked and he hides himself because he is afraid, he is afraid of Gods glance; he accuses the woman, she who is flesh of his flesh; he breaks harmony with creation, he begins to raise his hand against his brother to kill him. Can we say that from harmony he passes to 'disharmony'? Can we say this: that from harmony he passes to 'disharmony'? No, there is no such thing as 'disharmony'; there is either harmony or we fall into chaos, where there is violence, argument, conflict, fear.
It is exactly in this chaos that God asks mans conscience: Where is Abel your brother? and Cain responds: 'I do not know; am I my brothers keeper?'. We too are asked this question, it would be good for us to ask ourselves as well: Am I really my brothers keeper? Yes, you are your brothers keeper! To be human means to care for one another! But when harmony is broken, a metamorphosis occurs: the brother who is to be cared for and loved becomes an adversary to fight, to kill. What violence occurs at that moment, how many conflicts, how many wars have marked our history! We need only look at the suffering of so many brothers and sisters. This is not a question of coincidence, but the truth: we bring about the rebirth of Cain in every act of violence and in every war. All of us! And even today we continue this history of conflict between brothers, even today we raise our hands against our brother. Even today, we let ourselves be guided by idols, by selfishness, by our own interests, and this attitude persists. We have perfected our weapons, our conscience has fallen asleep, and we have sharpened our ideas to justify ourselves. As if it were normal, we continue to sow destruction, pain, death! Violence and war lead only to death, they speak of death! Violence and war are the language of death!
After the chaos of the Flood, when it stopped raining, a rainbow appeared and the dove returned with an olive branch. I think also of the olive tree which representatives of various religions planted in Plaza de Mayo, in Buenos Aires, in 2000, asking that there be no more chaos, asking that there be no more war, asking for peace.
And at this point I ask myself: Is it possible to walk the path of pace? Can we get out of this spiral of sorrow and death? Can we learn once again to walk and live in the ways of peace? Invoking the help of God, under the maternal gaze of the Salus Populi Romani, Queen of Peace, I say: Yes, it is possible for everyone! From every corner of the world tonight, I would like to hear us cry out: Yes, it is possible for everyone! Or even better, I would like for each one of us, from the least to the greatest, including those called to govern nations, to respond: Yes, we want it! My Christian faith urges me to look to the Cross. How I wish that all men and women of good will would look to the Cross if only for a moment! There, we can see Gods reply: violence is not answered with violence, death is not answered with the language of death. In the silence of the Cross, the uproar of weapons ceases and the language of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue, and peace is spoken. This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions, and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: violence and war are never the way to peace! Let everyone be moved to look into the depths of his or her conscience and listen to that word which says: Leave behind the self-interest that hardens your heart, overcome the indifference that makes your heart insensitive towards others, conquer your deadly reasoning, and open yourself to dialogue and reconciliation. Look upon your brothers sorrow I think of the children, look upon these - look upon your brother's sorrow, and do not add to it, stay your hand, rebuild the harmony that has been shattered; and all this not by conflict but by encounter! May the noise of weapons cease! War always marks the failure of peace, it is always a defeat for humanity. Let the words of Pope Paul VI resound again: 'No more one against the other, no more, never! ... war never again, never again war!'. 'Peace expresses itself only in peace, a peace which is not separate from the demands of justice but which is fostered by personal sacrifice, clemency, mercy and love'. Forgiveness, dialogue, reconciliation these are the words of peace, in beloved Syria, in the Middle East, in all the world! Let us pray for reconciliation and peace, let us work for reconciliation and peace, and let us all become, in every place, men and women of reconciliation and peace! Amen.
Following the Pope's words, a moment of silence was observed during the preparation of the altar for the exposition of the Holy Sacrament. The adoration was accompanied by a biblical reading on the theme of peace, followed by the Pope's prayer on this subject and a responsorial invocation as a plea for peace. At the end of each of those moments, five pairs of people, representing Syria, Egypt, the Holy Land, the United States and Russia, placed incense in the censer to the right of the altar. This offering was accompanied by a series of invocations on the common theme of peace, including: Lord of life, bring to us your peace, to where the fate of nations is decided and Stop, with your creative power, all violence against human life.
The adoration was followed by the reading - in the longest form planned for the celebration of a vigil - of the Gospel of St. John. Then, from around 10.15 to 10.40 p.m., there was a long period of silence for personal prayer.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Pope Francis imparted his Eucharistic blessing to those present. Today, the Pope wrote to his nine million followers on Twitter, Pray for peace.
**Francis wanted confessors to be present on this day as true peace is born of the human heart reconciled with God and with one’s brothers.**
Imagine if that could happen on FR — true peace.
Do you have a problem with the Sacrament of Confession, as well?
Crowd like that, food vendors would have made out quite well.
Always? Really? The great final war will be waged by none other than God himself along with his Saints. Will Francis condemn God then?
You no can fool me. There ain't no such thing as no Sanity Clause.
There are some details that could be quibbled over. It will not be the saints who are asking for this war.
Syria is a mess of two groups of horrible sinners at one another’s throats with no clear virtuous cause favoring one side or the other. Trying to take sides there is just foolish. Obama should have given that hornets’ nest a wide berth and in principle still could.
Hate to be the one who breaks it to you, but your Pope is very wrong. War often solves severe problems, and God has used it for His purposes many times. The Pope is apparently neither a student of history nor scripture...
Please cite one New Testament verse that supports war.
The Pope is apparently neither a student of history nor scripture...
This statement is supported by ???
13 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are Gods servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are Gods servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
Just as government has police, it also must protect its citizens with an Army. And this was said of a Roman soldier:
“10 In Caesarea there lived a Roman army officer named Cornelius, who was a captain of the Italian Regiment. 2 He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God.”
I also find it interesting that you want to limit things to the New Testament. Is the Old Testament not the Word of God? Was King David not a man after God’s heart?
To pretend God calls us to run around shouting “Peace! Peace!” is to ignore the scriptures and the role God requires government to play. And history shows many examples of when war did wonderful things - like free Europe from the Nazis, kept South Korea free, liberated Iraq, ended slavery in the USA, etc.
So you are saying the New Testament is NOT the Word of God?
World peace is a lovely sentiment, but we live in a world of fallen human beings. There are evildoers in this world, and they must be opposed. Just because we’re “nice” doesn’t mean they will be “nice” back. Sadly, the people who need to hear it most are deaf to the Holy Father’s bids for peace. We can pray but that is not enough.
Even in the Old Testament war was a last resort. In the new testament it was almost unheard of, and if it did happen it was because there was no other way to resolve the issue at hand. Jesus was called the Prince of Peace, not the Prince
The only people that benefit from war is the Military/Industrial Complex war profiteers.
“WAR is a racket. It always has been.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes”. ~ Major General Smedley Butler, US Marines
You're talking about the Church that developed the "Just War Theory" over the course of millenia, beginning with St. Augustine, 1700 years ago.
Regardless, there is a painfully obvious sense in which war, regardless of its justifiability, always represents a loss for humanity. Does this really require explanation?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.