Catholic World News

War is 'suicide of humanity,' Pope says

June 03, 2013

“War is madness,” Pope Francis said on June 2. “It is the suicide of humanity.”

The Pope denounced warfare, in unusually strong language, in two public statements on Sunday. First, as he celebrated Mass for Italian soldiers who had been wounded in battle and for the families of those wounded or killed; then again later in his regular Angelus audience.

June 2 is Republic Day in Italy, and for the occasion the Pope concelebrated Mass for the soldiers who have been injured during missions in Afghanistan. He also led prayers for those who have fallen in combat.

At the same time, the Pope prayed for an end to warfare. “It kills precisely that which is the Lord's message: it kills love!” he said. He charged that world leaders often see warfare as a means to acquire more power and money. “It is an act of faith in money, in idols, in the idols of hatred, in that idol that leads to killing one’s brother, that leads to killing love,” he said.

During his Angelus audience, the Pope repeated his condemnation of war, while asking the crowd in St. Peter’s Square to pause for a moment of prayer for those who have died. He spoke of the heavy toll of warfare, mentioning not only the direct casualties but the destruction and economic damage. He mentioned “the scourge of kidnapping,” too, and appealed for the release of those who have been held in captivity.

Pope Francis asked for prayers particularly for “our beloved Syria,” noting that two years of warfare have caused immense suffering there. He applauded “the recent steps taken in many Latin American countries toward reconciliation and peace.”

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  • Posted by: - Jun. 04, 2013 11:17 AM ET USA

    I agree with John Plick's comment. The spiritual guide Heliotropium gives accounts of Christians praying for victory on the battlefield, and they were often answered with a miraculous wiping out of the enemy. Catholics have vicious enemies today in and outside the Church. I don't find comfort on blanket statements condemning war. I would find comfort in statements condemning specifics like Communism, Islamism, civil unions, divorce, contraception. . . . The list goes on and on.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Jun. 03, 2013 8:10 PM ET USA

    I am not particularly fond of these sweeping exhaustive statements for they are inaccurate. Life itself on this earth is warfare..., and to declare what can only be described as a "neutral" phenomena as categorically "evil" without qualification is disingenious... One need only consider Saints George and Joan of Arc..., and of course St. Michael... J