Tomorrow marks the one hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, which caused millions of deaths and immense destruction. This conflict, which Pope Benedict XV called a "useless slaughter", resulted, after four long years, in a more fragile peace. Tomorrow will be a day of mourning in memory of this tragedy. As we remember this tragic event, I hope that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated, but the lessons of history will be kept in mind, making prevail the demands of peace through patient and courageous dialogue.
In particular, today, my thoughts go to three critical areas: the Middle East, the Iraqi and Ukrainian areas. I ask you to continue to join my prayer so that the Lord may grant to the people and Authorities of those areas the wisdom and strength needed to resolutely push ahead with the path of peace by addressing each dispute with the tenacity of dialogue and negotiation and with the power of reconciliation. At the centre of every decision do not put the particular interests, but the common good and respect for every person. Let us recall that all is lost with war and nothing is lost with peace.
Brothers and sisters, war never again! War never again! I think especially of children, whose hope of a dignified life, of a future is removed: dead children, wounded children, maimed children, orphaned children, children whose toys are remnants of war, children that can not smile. Stop, please! I ask you with all my heart. It is the time to stop! Stop, please!
Angelus, 27 July 2014