And 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide
(Vatican Radio) On Divine Mercy Sunday — the Second Sunday of Easter — Pope Francis celebrated Solemn Mass for the Centenary of the Armenian Martyrdom. During the Liturgy, the Holy Father also proclaimed the great Armenian Saint Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Church.
Pope Francis processed into St. Peter’s Basilica accompanied by the Catholicoi Karekin II and Aram I of the Armenian Apostolic Church, with the Patriarch Catholicos Nerses Bedros XIX a few paces ahead. Patriarch Nerses concelebrated Mass with the Holy Father.
Greeting the Armenian faithful who had come to Rome for the event, Pope Francis spoke out boldly against cruelty, recalling the occasions when he had previously spoken of “a third world war” being fought piecemeal, a war “in which we daily witness savage crimes, brutal massacres and senseless destruction.” Today, he said, “we are experiencing a sort of genocide created by a general and collective indifference, by the complicit silence of Cain…”
Pope Francis noted three “massive and unprecedented tragedies” of the twentieth century, the first of which was the “Great Crime,” the systematic massacre of Armenian Christians who were slaughtered because of their faith. The atrocities of the Nazis and the Communists, along with other mass killings, makes it seem as if “humanity is incapable of putting a halt to the shedding of innocent blood… We have not yet learned,” he said, “that ‘war is madness,’ a ‘senseless slaughter.’”
It is necessary, and even a duty, he said, to recall these events, notably the massacre of the Armenians, “with hearts filled with pain, but at the same time with great hope in the risen Christ.”
In his homily for Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis focused on the wounds of Christ, the wounds our Lord showed His disciples so that they might believe He was truly risen from the dead. “The wounds of Jesus are wounds of mercy,” the Pope said. “Through these wounds we can see the entire mystery of Christ and of God,” the whole history of salvation. The wounds of Christ proclaim the mercy of God from generation to generation.
Alluding once again to the centenary of the massacre of the Armenians, Pope Francis said the tragic events of history can leave us feeling crushed, wondering “why?” Humanity cannot fill the abyss left by the mystery of evil. “It is only Jesus, God made man, who died on the Cross and who fills the abyss of sin with the depth of His mercy.”
Pope Francis concluded, “Brothers and sisters, behold the way which God has opened for us to finally go out from our slavery to sin and death, and thus enter into the land of life and peace. Jesus, crucified and risen, is the way, and His wounds are full of mercy.”