“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,” Pope Francis writes.
“So many wars are going on in the world right now, causing immense pain, innocent victims, especially children,” he notes. “These are the many forgotten wars that reappear from time to time before our inattentive eyes.”
The pope also reiterates a proposal in his introduction taken from his 2020 encyclical Fratelli tutti, that “the money spent on arms and other military expenditures be used to set up a global fund to finally eliminate hunger and foster development in the poorest countries.”
“If we had memory, we would not spend tens, hundreds of billions of dollars for rearmament, to equip ourselves with increasingly sophisticated weapons, to increase the market and the traffic of weapons that end up killing children, women, old people: $1.981 trillion per year, according to the calculations of an important study center in Stockholm,” he observes.
“This marks a dramatic increase of 2.6% in the second year of the pandemic, when all our efforts should have been focused on global health and on saving lives from the virus,” the pope adds.
Pope Francis writes that hate must be eradicated from people’s hearts before war can reach the frontlines.
“And in order to do so, we need dialogue, negotiation, listening, diplomatic capacity and creativity, far-sighted politics capable of building a new system of coexistence that is no longer based on weapons, on the power of weapons, on deterrence,” he says.
“Every war represents not only a defeat of politics but also a shameful surrender in the face of the forces of evil.”
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, will speak at a presentation of the book in Rome on April 29 at LUMSA, a private Catholic university in Rome.
“War is not the solution, war is madness, war is a monster, war is a cancer that feeds off itself, engulfing everything,” Pope Francis writes in the introduction.
“More so, war is a sacrilege that wreaks havoc on what is most precious on our earth, human life, the innocence of the little ones, the beauty of creation.”
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Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.