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Pope Francis at the meeting "Paths of Peace": "to overcome the ignorance in front of war and violence. Europe should be more open and united"

September 10 2017 - MÜNSTER, GERMANY

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The road of peace and dialogue "remains timely and necessary, as conflicts, violence, terrorism and war increasingly threaten millions of persons, violate the sacredness of human life, and make us all more uncertain and vulnerable." In his message to the leaders invited to the international meeting "Paths of Peace" by the Community of Sant'Egidio, in collaboration with the dioceses of Münster and Osnabrück, Pope Francis asks not to give up, to overcome indifference and to welcome the invitation "to forge new paths of peace."

"How greatly this is needed, especially where conflicts seem intractable, where the will to undertake processes of reconciliation is lacking, where trust is placed in arms and not in dialogue, thus leaving entire peoples plunged into a dark night of violence, without hope for a dawn of peace." The gathering of these days "can be seen as a response to the call to overcome indifference in the face of human suffering.  I thank you for this, and for the fact that you have gathered, despite your differences, to seek processes of liberation from the evils of war and hatred.  For this to happen, the first step is to feel the pain of others, to make it our own, neither overlooking it or becoming inured to it.  We must never grow accustomed or indifferent to evil." One can ask oneself: what can we do in front of so much evil that is so widespread? Isn't it too strong? Isn't every effort vain? The risk is to let oneself be paralized and give up, but already "your very gathering represents a response of peace: no longer are some against others; now all stand beside one another.  The religions cannot desire anything less than peace, as they pray and serve, ever ready to help those hurt by life and oppressed by history, ever concerned to combat indifference and to promote paths of communion."

Alongside political and civil leaders, "who are responsible for promoting peace everywhere, today and in the future, the religions - the Pope wrote to the participants of the meeting in Münster - are called, by prayer and by humble, concrete and constructive efforts, to respond to this thirst, to identify and, together with all men and women of good will, to pave tirelessly new paths of peace" in front of the unreasonability that profanes God’s name by spreading hatred; it has nothing to do with the bane of war, the folly of terrorism or the illusory force of arms."

To open arches of peace "we need humility and courage, tenacity and perseverance; more than anything else, it demands prayer, since – as I firmly believe – prayer is the taproot of peace.  As religious leaders, particularly at this present moment of history, we also have a special responsibility to be and to live as people of peace, bearing insistent witness that God detests war, that war is never holy, and that violence can never be perpetrated or justified in the name of God.  We are likewise called to trouble consciences, to spread hope, to encourage and support peacemakers everywhere."

What we "What we may not and must not do is remain indifferent, allowing tragedies of hatred to pass unnoticed, and men and women to be cast aside for the sake of power and profit." To Pope Francis it is important that the meeting takes place in the heart of Europe, in the year in which the continent celebrates the sixtieth anniversary of the founding treaties of the Union, signed in Rome in 1957. Peace is "Peace has been at the heart of Europe’s reconstruction following the devastation caused by two disastrous world wars and the terrible tragedy of the Shoah."