By editor - 28 July, 2016
Pope Francis on Wednesday expressed gratitude for the condolences he received following the killing of Fr Jacques Hammel in Normandy, paying particular tribute to the expressions of solidarity from France’s President Hollande, who spoke to him on the phone “like a brother.”
Speaking to journalists accompanying him on the plane from Rome to Krakow in Poland for World Youth Day, the Pope said the world is at war but it’s not a war of religions but one for power.
It is, he argued, “a war about (economic) interests, money, natural resources and the domination of peoples.”
All religions, he said, “desire peace. Other people want war.”
Pope Francis began his remarks by noting that the word which is being repeated very often now is “insecurity” but, he said, the real word is “war.”
“The world is at war, a piecemeal war. There was the 1914 war with its methods, then the 1939-45 one and now this one.”
“It is not very organic (structured) but it is organised, it is war. This saintly priest, killed right at the moment when he was offering prayers for peace. He is one (victim), but how many Christians, how many innocent people, how many children… Let’s think about Nigeria, for example. We say, well, that is Africa! It’s war. We’re not frightened to tell the truth, the world is at war because it has lost (sight) of peace.”
Speaking about the World Youth Day gathering in Poland, the Pope said “Young people always tell us to have hope. We’re hoping that young people can tell us something that gives us a bit more hope at this time.”
During the first official event of his five-day visit to Poland, Pope Francis urged the country’s political leaders to welcome migrants fleeing from wars and hunger, while at the same time protecting human life from conception until natural death.
The Pope’s words came as he met with the nation’s president, prime minister and other political leaders in the courtyard of Krakow’s historic Wawel Castle complex.
Noting that this visit marks his first to central-eastern Europe, the Pope spoke about the importance of history in establishing a national identity, based on human and spiritual resources.
Recalling the recent anniversary of the Baptism of Poland, he said the event marked a powerful moment of national unity, reaffirming harmony, “even amid a diversity of opinions”.
Pope Francis said that while negative historical memories keep the heart and mind fixed on evil, memories can help a country move forward and forge better relations between peoples and nations.
He noted especially the offering of mutual forgiveness between Polish and German Church leaders after the Second World War and the more recent rapprochement between the Catholic Church in Poland and the Russian Orthodox Church.
Speaking of the challenges facing the country today, including the economy, environmental concerns and “the complex phenomenon of migration”, the Pope called for “a spirit of readiness to welcome those fleeing” conflicts or deprived of their basic rights.
At the same time, he said, new forms of international cooperation must be developed in order to resolve the problems that force people to leave their native lands.