2014 marks the centenary of the start of World War I, “the war to end all wars.” Unfortunately, other wars followed thereafter, and the future looks bleak for humanity.
On August 18, 2014, during a press conference on the flight from Korea to Rome, Pope Francis said: “Today we are in a world at war everywhere! Someone told me, “You know, Father, we are in the Third World War, but it is being fought piecemeal.”
On Saturday, September 13, during a Mass celebrated at the military memorial of Redipuglia (Italy’s largest military cemetery, where 100,000 Italian soldiers killed during WWI are buried, 60,000 of them in unnamed graves), Pope Francis also made mention of World War III, denouncing the madness and futility of all wars. Here are excerpts from this homily:
“War is madness. Whereas God carries forward the work of creation, and we men and women are called to participate in His work, war destroys. It also ruins the most beautiful work of His hands: human beings. War ruins everything, even the bonds between brothers. War is irrational; its only plan is to bring destruction: it seeks to grow by destroying.
“Greed, intolerance, the lust for power.... These motives underlie the decision to go to war, and they are too often justified by an ideology; but first there is a distorted passion or impulse. Ideology is presented as a justification and when there is no ideology, there is the response of Cain: ‘What does it matter to me? Am I my brother’s keeper?‘ (cf. Gen 4:9). War does not look directly at anyone, be they elderly, children, mothers, fathers.... ‘What does it matter to me?’.
“Above the entrance to this cemetery, there hangs in the air those ironic words of war, ‘What does it matter to me?’. All of the dead buried here had their own plans, their own dreams... but their lives were cut short. Why? Why did humanity say, ‘What does it matter to me?’.
“Even today, after the second failure of another world war (“to end all wars”), perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction....
“Today, too, the victims are many.... How is this possible? It is so because in today’s world, behind the scenes, there are interests, geopolitical strategies, lust for money and power, and there is the manufacture and sale of arms, which seem to be so important!
“And these plotters of terrorism, these schemers of conflicts, just like arms dealers, have engraved in their hearts, “What does it matter to me?”. “It is the task of the wise to recognize errors, to feel pain, to repent, to beg for pardon and to cry.
“With this ‘What does it matter to me?’ in their hearts, the merchants of war have perhaps made a great deal of money, but their corrupted hearts have lost the capacity to cry. Cain did not cry. He was not capable of tears. The shadow of Cain hangs over us today in this cemetery. It has been seen here. It is seen from 1914 right up to our own time. It is seen even in the present.
“With the heart of a son, a brother, a father, I ask each of you, indeed for all of us, to have a conversion of heart: to move on from ‘What does it matter to me?’ to tears for each one of the fallen of this senseless massacre, for all the victims of the mindless wars, in every age. Weeping. Brothers and sisters, humanity needs to weep, and this is the time to weep.”
|Pope Francis praying before the graves of the victims of war at the cemetary of Redipuglia.|
Four days later, on September 17, Pope Francis met a delegation of members of the World Jewish Congress, led by Ronald S. Lauder, to mark Rosh Hashanah, the upcoming Jewish New Year. After the meeting, Lauder said to journalists: “Pope Francis told us privately that he believes we are in World War III, but unlike the first two world wars, instead of happening all at once, this war is coming in stages. He said first it was your turn and now it is our turn. In other words, first Jews suffered savage attacks that were met with the world’s silence, and now it is Christians who are being annihilated and the world is silent.”
Finally, on October 28, Pope Francis made the following remarks to the World Meeting of Popular Movements, gathered for this occasion in the Vatican:
“A short time ago I said, and I repeat it, we are living the Third World War but in quotas. There are economic systems that must make war to survive. Then arms are manufactured and sold and with that, the balance sheets of the economies that sacrifice man at the feet of the idol of money, obviously are healed. And no thought is given to hungry children in refugee camps; no thought is given to forced displacements; no thought is given to destroyed homes; no thought is given now to so many destroyed lives. How much suffering, how much destruction, how much grief there is. Today, dear sisters and brothers, the cry for peace rises in all parts of the earth, in all nations, in every heart and in popular movements: No more war!”
Wesley Clark, a retired four-star U.S. general, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO from 1997 to 2001, said on March 2, 2007 to journalist Any Goodman of DemocracyNow.org, that the plan of the U.S. Department of Defense was to invade seven countries of the Middle East in five years:
“About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, ‘Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.’ I said, ‘Well, you’re too busy.’ He said, ‘No, no.’ He says, ‘We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.’ This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, ‘We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.’ He said, ‘I guess they don’t know what else to do.’ So I said, ‘Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?’ He said, ‘No, no... I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.’
“So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, ‘Are we still going to war with Iraq?’ And he said, ‘Oh, it’s worse than that.’ He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, ‘I just got this down from upstairs’ — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — ‘today.’ And he said, ‘This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.’ I said, ‘Is it classified?’ He said, ‘Yes, sir.’”
After ten years of depression, from 1929 to 1939, Western countries had not found any solution to end the financial and economic crisis except to trigger a world war, to make money circulate again and restart the economy. What madness, as the Pope said, of “seeking to grow by destroying”!
And how sad it is to see that, one hundred years after the beginning of World War I, history seems to repeat itself with the powder keg of the Middle East and the extremists of the Islamic State who do not hesitate to behead all those who do not want to convert to their vision of Islam, eliminating first of all Christians.
What is puzzling is that this new armed jihadist group called Islamic State (ISIS) was originally part of the groups funded by Western countries to overthrow the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, just like as Al Qaeda was funded by the CIA in the early 1980s to fight the Russians in Afghanistan.
During a meeting with the apostolic nuncios (representatives of the Pope) of the Middle East in early October 2014, Pope Francis told them that in order to find the cause of wars, they just had to find who financed the weapons.
What madness to sacrifice thousands, and even millions of lives, for the thirst for power, to maintain a financial system that is about to collapse! Let us beseech the God of Peace to end these wars. Let us beg the intercession of the Virgin Mary, through the recitation of the Rosary, the most powerful weapon to end all wars.