By Sarah Mac Donald - 26 February, 2014
Speaking at Mass on Tuesday at the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta, the Pontiff described war as a scandal to be mourned every day.
The children starving in refugee camps were the fruits of war he said, and he contrasted their plight with the “great dining rooms” in which parties were held by those who control the arms industry and those 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,” the Pope criticised.
The hatred and hostility of war weren’t products bought at the market, the Jesuit Pope observed, as he reminded his listeners that they are in fact emotions found 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,” he said.
Expressing concern about people’s indifference to war and the suffering caused by war, the Pope said we were used to reading about war in the newspapers every day, “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 scandalised by the many millions of dead. But today, it’s the same: instead of one great war, there are small wars everywhere.”
Citing the story of Cain and Abel, he said as children, most of us 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.”
He urged people to overcome indifference and to mourn for the innumerable victims of war and conflict around the world.
The Pope concluded by praying for peace – for “that peace which seems to have been reduced to a word and nothing more.”
“Let us follow James’ advice: ‘Recognise your misery’. Let us recognise, that misery which breeds wars within families, within neighbourhoods, 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,” he said.
Source: Vatican Radio/VIS