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Pope Francis: war is the suicide of humanity
(Vatican Radio) “War is the suicide of humanity because it kills the heart and kills love,” Pope Francis said in his homily at Mass this morning at the Casa Santa Marta. In attendance at the Mass was a group of about 80 people, consisting of relatives of Italian soldiers killed in peacekeeping missions in the last 4-5 years, particularly in Afghanistan, along with a number of soldiers wounded during the same missions.
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June 2nd is “Republic Day” in Italy, which commemorates the foundation of the Italian republic in 1946. Archbishop Vincenzo Pelvi, the head of the Military Ordinary in Italy, who concelebrated Mass with the Holy Father, said it is a “significant day” in which the country expresses “a debt of love for military families.”
“The Lord hears the prayers of everyone!” – not only Solomon’s prayers on the day of the consecration of the Temple, but also the prayer of all of us. Pope Francis emphasised that fact, citing the Gospel story of the centurion who goes to Jesus to ask for the healing of his servant. He said our God is such that He hears the prayers of each one of us – not as an “anonymous” mass of prayers, but the prayers of each and every individual. "Our God is the God of the great and the God of small, our God is personal," He listens to everyone with His heart, and loves “from the heart”:
"Today we have come to pray for our dead, for our wounded, for the victims of the madness that is war! It is the suicide of humanity, because it kills the heart, it kills precisely that which is the message of the Lord: it kills love! Because war comes from hatred, from envy, from desire for power, and – we’ve seen it many times - it comes from that hunger for more power.”
So many times, the Pope noted, we’ve seen “the great ones of the earth want to solve” local problems, economic problems, economic crises “with a war.”
“Why? Because, for them, money is more important than people! And war is just that: it is an act of faith in money, in idols, in idols of hatred, in the idol that leads to killing one’s brother, which leads to killing love. It reminds me of the words of God our Father to Cain, who, out of envy, had killed his brother: ‘Cain, where is your brother?’ Today we can hear this voice: it is God our Father who weeps, crying for this madness of ours, who asks all of us, ‘Where is your brother?’ Who says to the powerful of the earth, ‘Where is your brother? What have you done!’”
From this exhortation, Pope Francis went on to pray to the Lord, that He might “take all evil far away from us,” repeating this prayer “even with tears, with the tears of the heart”:
“‘Turn to us, o Lord, and have mercy on us, because we are sad, we are distressed. See our misery, and our pain and forgive all sins,’ because behind a war there are always sins: there is the sin of idolatry, the sin of exploiting men on the altar of power, sacrificing them. ‘Turn to us, o Lord, and have mercy, because we are sad and distressed. See our misery and our pain.’ We are confident that the Lord will hear us and will do anything to give us the spirit of consolation. So be it.”
At the end of the Mass, the “Prayer for Italy,” composed by Blessed John Paul II, was recited. Afterwards, the ecclesial community of the Military Ordinariate offered the Holy Father a hand-crafted terracotta sculpture from Naples, representing Saint Joseph the Worker showing Jesus a carpenter’s tools. The child Jesus is holding a basket with objects that call to mind the Crucifixion, including a hammer and nails.