"We, unfortunately, have a short memory. Yes, because if we had memory, we would remember what our grandparents and parents told us, and we would feel the need for peace just as our lungs need oxygen."
In the preface to a book published on April 14, 2022, by the Vatican Publishing House, Pope Francis delivers a renewed cry against war, which he calls a “defeat of politics” and a “shameful surrender in the face of the forces of evil.”
“Hate, before it is too late, must be eradicated from hearts,” he urges, alluding to the calamity of a possible nuclear war in Europe, in the context of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
The 192-page book in Italian, titled Contro la Guerra: Il Coraggio di Constuire la Pace, (Against War: The Courage to Build Peace), gathers the main texts of the Head of the Catholic Church on the subject of war.
Towards a World War III
A year ago, on my pilgrimage to martyred Iraq, I was able to touch with my own hands the disaster caused by war, fratricidal violence and terrorism; I saw the rubble of homes and the wounds of hearts, but also seeds of hope for rebirth. Never would I have imagined then that one year later a conflict would break out in Europe.
From the beginning of my service as Bishop of Rome, I have spoken of World War III, saying that we are already living it, though only in pieces. Those pieces have become bigger and bigger, melding together
But it’s not inevitable!
Who could have imagined that less than three years later [after the November 2019 visit to Hiroshima] the spectre of a nuclear war would be looming over Europe? And so, step by step, we are moving towards catastrophe. Piece by piece the world risks becoming the theater of a unique Third World War. We are moving towards it as if it were unavoidable.
But we must forcefully repeat: no, it is not inevitable! No, war is not inescapable! When we allow ourselves to be devoured by this monster represented by war, when we allow this monster to raise its head and guide our actions, everyone loses, we destroy God’s creatures, we commit sacrilege and prepare a future of death for our children and grandchildren.
Greed, intolerance, ambition for power, violence, are motives that advance the decision for war, and these motives are often justified by a war ideology that forgets the immeasurable dignity of human life, of every human life, and the respect and care we owe it.
Read the whole text here, in a translation provided by Vatican News.