When Pope Francis speaks of a world tragedy – whether it be war, forced migration, hunger, euthanasia, abortion – he often recalls that these situations aren’t about “numbers.” Instead, they are about persons, individuals, with their individual dreams and fears and hopes.
On March 30, at the end of the general audience, this message hit home as the Pope greeted one by one a group of Ukrainian refugee children hosted in Italy by three different groups.
I address a particularly affectionate greeting to the Ukrainian children, hosted by the Foundation “Aiutiamoli a vivere,” by the Association “Puer” and by the Embassy of Ukraine to the Holy See.
And with this greeting to the children, we also think again about this monstrosity of war and renew our prayers that this savage cruelty that is war may be stopped.
As the children shook the Pope’s hands — some of them clearly older siblings holding their little brothers or sisters — the crowd watched in silence. The Pope congratulated one little boy who presented him with drawings of the flag of Ukraine and a dove of peace.
At the end, they gathered around the Holy Father for a picture, as the crowd applauded.
The Pope has begged repeatedly for an end to the war – in Ukraine, and in other areas of conflict.
In the name of God, listen to the cry of those who suffer, and put an end to the bombings and the attacks!
Let there be real and decisive focus on the negotiations, and let the humanitarian corridors be effective and safe. In the name of God, I ask you: Stop this massacre!
Let us not forget: war is madness!
All this is inhuman! Indeed, it is also sacrilegious because it goes against the sacredness of human life, especially against defenseless human life, which must be respected and protected, not eliminated, and this comes before any strategy! Let us not forget it is inhuman and sacrilegious cruelty! Let us pray in silence for those who are suffering.