No God of war: Pope Fran­cis

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

AS­SISI — Pope Fran­cis de­nounced those who wage war in the name of God on Tues­day, as he met faith lead­ers and con­flict vic­tims to dis­cuss grow­ing re­li­gious fa­nati­cism and es­ca­lat­ing vi­o­lence around the world.

“The world is at war, the world is suf­fer­ing,” the Ar­gen­tine pon­tiff said ahead of the meet­ing, which came as fight­ing re­sumed in Syria and US au­thor­i­ties in­ves­ti­gated an at­tack pos­si­bly linked to the Is­lamic State group. “There is no God of war,” he said, call­ing on “all men and women of good will, of any re­li­gion, to pray for peace”.

The an­nual World Day of Prayer event, es­tab­lished by John Paul II 30 years ago and held in the me­dieval town of As­sisi in cen­tral Italy, aims to com­bat ex­trem­ism dressed up as re­li­gion and the per­se­cu­tion of peo­ple for their faiths.

The Pope also re­minded West­ern coun­tries that while they had suf­fered a string of deadly ji­hadist at­tacks, there were parts of the world where cities were be­ing flat­tened by fight­ing, pris­on­ers were be­ing tor­tured and fam­i­lies were starv­ing to death.

“We are fright­ened . . . by some ter­ror­ist acts,” he said dur­ing morn­ing mass at the Vat­i­can, “[but] this is noth­ing com­pared to what is hap­pen­ing in those coun­tries, in those lands where day and night bombs fall.”

“As we pray to­day, it would be good if we all felt shame, shame that hu­mans, our broth­ers and sis­ters, are ca­pa­ble of do­ing this.”

The Pope held one-on-one talks with faith lead­ers, in­clud­ing the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury Justin Welby, the Ortho­dox Pa­tri­arch of Con­stantino­ple Bartholomew I, and Din Syam­sud­din, chair­man of Muham­madiyah, In­done­sia’s sec­ond largest Is­lamic or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Rabbi David Rosen, from the Amer­i­can Jewish Com­mit­tee and Koei Morikawa, the Supreme Head of the Tendai Ja­panese school of Ma­hayana Bud­dhism, also met Fran­cis.

The 79-year-old Pope had ar­rived amid tight se­cu­rity in As­sisi for lunch with the lead­ers and a group of refugees, in­clud­ing Syr­i­ans and Pales­tini­ans, an Eritrean, two Nige­rian women and a 23-year-old from Mali who fled cri­sis-torn Libya for Si­cily by boat.

The meal was rounded off with a cake sport­ing 25 can­dles to cel­e­brate Bartholomew I’s 25 years as Pa­tri­arch, Ital­ian me­dia said.

About 500 rep­re­sen­ta­tives from dif­fer­ent re­li­gious tra­di­tions have been tak­ing part in a se­ries of round­tables with lay peo­ple in the town since Sun­day, cov­er­ing top­ics from re­li­gious vi­o­lence to cli­mate change and the mi­gra­tion cri­sis.

It is the Pope’s sec­ond visit in as many months to the pic­turesque hill­side town, where his name­sake Saint Fran­cis of As­sisi was born and found God, re­nounc­ing his wealth for a life of poverty and be­com­ing an emis­sary of peace.

The head of the world’s 1.2 bil­lion Ro­man Catholics, who took the pa­pal name Fran­cis in homage to the fa­mous Chris­tian friar and his de­vo­tion to peace and for­give­ness, has in­sisted vi­o­lence com­mit­ted in the name of re­li­gion has noth­ing to do with God.

Dur­ing a trip to Poland in Au­gust he said “the world is at war”, but driven by greed for “in­ter­ests, money, re­sources, not re­li­gion. All re­li­gions want peace, it’s the oth­ers who want war”, he said, warn­ing against equat­ing Is­lam with ter­ror­ism, in­sist­ing there were fun­da­men­tal­ist Catholics too. — AFP —

FeesMustFall sup­port­ers mo­bilise at var­i­ous UCT res­i­dences for a mass meet­ing. News24

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