“When I speak of war, I speak of real war. Not of a war of religion, no. Some may think: ‘He is talking about a war of religion.’ No. All the religions, we want peace. Others want war…”
For anyone who had trouble understanding the Holy Father’s meaning in his remarks on a “war of religion”, these images really help get to the heart of what he was saying.
He sparks the question: Who are we, and what do we say to Jesus? Do we say, “But this is a Muslim! But this is a woman! But this is a Jew! But that is a Hindu! But THEY are not us!”
No, of course, “they” are not. “They” are not Catholic. But “they” are humans loved into being. “They” are not lessers — not mere reductions to “this” or “that”, easily negated with a label.
“They” are not undeserving of the notice, and the kiss, of Peter, who — as we read in Chapter 10 of the Acts of the Apostles — is a witness to their humanity, and Christ’s Vicar, meant to love “them” with Christ’s own love.
And so, no, religion is not the reason for war. Truly religious people want peace. “Others want war…” The people who would use religion as a cover for what is dark and broken and nefarious in their own hearts and minds.