Pope Francis has said that God’s name ‘cannot bless terror and violence’.
He was speaking during the closing ceremony of the annual ‘Spirit of Assisi’ prayer for peace on Tuesday afternoon at Rome’s iconic Colosseum.
“Religions cannot be used for war. Only peace is holy, and no one is to use the name of God to bless terror and violence. If you see wars around you, do not resign yourselves! The peoples desire peace.”
The Pope recalled that these words he and religious leaders declared together a year ago, gathered in the same place, and said the appeal we launched “is all the more timely today,” and “we must strive to do ever better each day.”
“Today let us raise to heaven our plea for peace,” the Pope said.
In the face of threats of nuclear weapons and anguished pleas, the Pope warned that war constitutes “a failure” and suggested it “summons everyone” to do everything, at every level, to stop it.
The three-day peace summit, held under the theme ‘Il Grido della Pace’ (The Cry for Peace), was hosted by the Community of Sant’Egidio, and has welcomed Heads of State, religious leaders, and various high-ranking authorities.
This year’s gathering marks the 36th edition of the meetings initiated in the wake of the historic World Day of Interreligious Prayer for Peace of 27 October 1986, convoked by Pope St. John Paul II.
Pope Francis said this year’s prayer for peace holds a special importance.
“This year our prayer has become a heartfelt plea,” he said, “because today peace has been gravely violated, assaulted and trampled upon, and this in Europe, on the very continent that in the last century endured the horrors of two World Wars.”
Sadly, since then, the Pope lamented, wars have continued to cause bloodshed and to impoverish the earth.