Jerusalem, the Pope, “great sorrow for the dead and wounded, may dialogue and peace prevail”

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Jerusalem, the Pope, “great sorrow for the dead and wounded, may dialogue and peace prevail”

By Iacopo Scaramuzzi/ lastampa.it

At the general audience, on Wednesday May 16, Pope Francis reaffirms that “the use of violence can never lead to peace”. He recalls the two World Wars and sighs: “We never learn”. And wishes our “Islamic brothers and sisters” for Ramadan.

The Pope expresses his "great sorrow" for the dead and wounded in the Gaza Strip during the protests for the inauguration of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, and reiterates that "violence can never lead to peace ", and therefore calls for "a renewed commitment so that dialogue, justice and peace may prevail". During the general audience in St. Peter's Square, with which he concluded a cycle of catechesis on baptism, Francis evoked the two World Wars, stating, "We never learn". The Pontiff also extended to the "Islamic brothers and sisters" his best wishes for the beginning of the Ramadan month.

"I am very concerned and saddened by the escalation of tensions in the Holy Land and the Middle East, and by the spiral of violence that draws further away from the path of peace, dialogue and negotiation," said the Pope at the conclusion of his catechesis. "I express my great sorrow for the dead and wounded and I am close with prayer and affection to all who suffer. I repeat that the use of violence can never lead to peace. War begets war, violence begets violence. I call on all parties concerned and on the international community to renew their commitment to ensure that dialogue, justice and peace prevail. "Let us invoke Mary, Queen of Peace", said Francis who then recited the Hail Mary with the faithful present in St. Peter's Square. "May God have mercy on us", he added. 61 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army.

The absence of peace was at the centre of the Pope's words when he greeted the Polish ex-combatants of the Second World War, in Rome for the celebrations of the anniversary of the Monte Cassino battle: "How sad it is to remember the wars, of the last two great centuries, and today ... we never learn: May God help us! “The tragedy of the war that you have experienced, your strength of spirit, your fidelity to ideals and your witness of life, shall become an appeal for the cessation of the conflicts in the world and for the search for ways of peace".

At the end of the audience the Pope also addressed his "cordial wishes to the Islamic brothers" for the month of Ramadan that will begin tomorrow. "May this privileged time of prayer and fasting - he said - help us in walking the path of God which is of peace".

The Pope concluded today a cycle of catechesis on Baptism, underlining that the white robe of the baptized and the lit candle are "visible signs that manifest the dignity of the baptized and their Christian vocation". Francis stressed that the words used in the baptismal rite indicate that "we are not the light, but Christ is, who, risen from the dead, has overcome the darkness of evil. We are called to receive his splendor. For this reason, "since the first centuries Baptism is also called the sacrament of “Illumination" and the baptized "illuminated", according to the very words of Jesus: "I am the light of the world; whoever follows me, will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life""".

About children, in particular, "it is the duty of parents, together with godparents and godparents, to nourish the flame of baptismal grace in the little ones", because, he said quoting the Rite of Baptism of Children, "Christian education is a right of each child". The "living presence of Christ, to be guarded, defended and expanded within us, is a lamp that illuminates our steps, a light that directs our choices, a flame that warms our hearts on our journey towards the Lord, enabling us to help those who walk the way with us", the Pope stressed again, who concluded the catechesis by quoting a passage from his recent Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, "Let the grace of your baptism bear fruit in a path of holiness. Let everything be open to God; turn to him in every situation. Do not be dismayed, for the power of the Holy Spirit enables you to do this, and holiness, in the end, is the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life".

At the conclusion of the audience Francis greeted, among others, the Egyptian Ambassador to Italy present at the audience with a delegation from the Community of the Coptic Church of Luxor.

Before the audience, in two separate meetings, Pope Francis addressed a brief greeting to a Buddhist delegation from Thailand and to the participants at a conference that took place yesterday in Rome with Hindus, Buddhists, Janists and Sikhs. "Dialogue and collaboration - he said to the latter - are key words in a time like ours that, for an unprecedented complexity of factors, has seen growing tensions and conflicts, with widespread violence both on a small and large scale. Therefore, it is reason for praising the God when religious leaders commit themselves to cultivating the culture of encounter, set an example of dialogue and actively collaborate in the service of life, human dignity and the protection of creation".

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 18:31
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