I received the following homily by Pope Francis from our good friends at Catholic Peace Fellowship at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. We are so grateful for all that they do day in and day out, year in and year out to promote the cause of peace, justice, and non-violence.
We are also so thankful as a foundation when religious leaders risk their own reputations and/or popularity by taking very unpopular stands on such important and controversial issues such as peace and non-violence, especially in the militarized culture of today’s world. It is more than rare to see such strength of conviction that stems so obviously from a heart of compassion and love as is the case with Pope Francis. He is more than a ‘breath of fresh air’ to the world, he is a true ‘gift from God’.
Peace. We share with you Pope Francis’s words from this morning on war, peace and the Christian call.
The CPF Staff
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Pope Francis: The Spirit of War Draws Us Away from God
“War is a scandal to be mourned every day. We see war in the newspapers ever and we’re used to reading about it: the number of its victims is just part of our daily accounts. We hold events to commemorate the centenary of the Great War and everyone is scandalized by the many millions of dead. But today it’s the same… instead of one great war, there are small wars everywhere. When we were children in Sunday School and we were told the story of Cain and Abel, we couldn’t accept that someone would kill their own brother. And yet today millions kill their own brothers and we’re used to it: there are entire peoples divided, killing each other over a piece of land, a racial hatred, an ambition.
Think of the children starving in refugee camps… these are the fruits of war. And then think of the great dining rooms, of the parties held by those who control the arms industry, who produce weapons. Compare a sick, starving child in a refugee camp with the big parties, the good life led by the masters of the arms trade. And remember, the Pope added, that the wars, the hatred, the hostility aren’t products we buy at the market: they’re right here, in our hearts. The Apostle James gives us a simple piece of advice: ‘Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.’ But the spirit of war, which draws us away from God, doesn’t just reside in distant parts of the world: the spirit of war comes from our own hearts.
Let us pray for peace, for that peace which seems to have been reduced to a word and nothing more. Let us follow James’ advice: ‘Recognize your misery.’ Let us recognize that misery which breeds wars within families, within neighborhoods, everywhere. How many of us weep when we read the newspapers, when we see the dead on television? This is what Christians should do today, in the face of war: we should weep, we should mourn.”
- Homily given by Pope Francis at the Casa San Marta on February 25, A.D. 2014 (*We are grateful for the English Translation provided by News.va)