Pope Francis: Lessons of war still being unheeded

18.02.2022, 15:24
Pope Francis: Lessons of war still being unheeded - фото 1
Meeting with members of the Plenary of the Congregation for Eastern Churches on Friday, Pope Francis said “humanity still seems to be groping in the dark,” highlighting the massacres from conflicts in the Middle East, in Syria and Iraq, and the “threatening winds across the steppes of Eastern Europe.”

Source: Vatican News

Addressing participants taking part in the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for Eastern Churches in the Vatican on Friday, Pope Francis drew inspiration from one of his predecessors, Pope Benedict XV, founder of the Congregation and of the Pontifical Oriental Institute.

He noted that this Pope had stressed the importance of equality, stating that "in the Church of Jesus Christ, which is neither Latin, nor Greek, nor Slavonic, but Catholic, there is no discrimination among its children.”

Incivility of war

During his pontificate, Pope Benedict XV denounced the incivility of war as "useless slaughter".

Pope Francis underlined how his warning “went unheeded by the leaders of the nations involved in the First World War. Just as St John Paul II's appeal to avert the conflict in Iraq went unheeded.”

Turning his attention to the world today, the Pope said, “humanity still seems to be groping in the dark.” He highlighted the massacres from conflicts in the Middle East, in Syria and Iraq; those in the Ethiopian region of Tigray, and the “drama” facing Lebanon.

“They are the motherland of the Eastern Catholic Churches: they have developed there, preserving millenary traditions, and many of you, members of the Dicastery, are their children and heirs,” he said.

Pope Francis also shone the spotlight on the “threatening winds” that are still blowing across the steppes of Eastern Europe, “lighting the fuses and fires of weapons and leaving the hearts of the poor and innocent cold.”

Eastern Catholic tradition

The Pope told those present that their life was like a mixture of the “precious dust of the gold” of their past and “the heroic witness of faith of many in the present.”

However, he stressed there is also “the mud of the miseries for which we are also responsible and the pain that is caused to you by external forces.”

Pope Francis emphasized the paths forged by Eastern Catholics in distant continents, and the Eparchies that have been established in Canada, in the United States, in Latin America, in Europe, in Oceania, and many others that are entrusted, at least for the moment, to the Latin Bishops.

The power of listening

During his address, the Pope noted the importance of evangelisation and the need to “listen more to the richness of the different traditions.”

In particular, he spoke of the itinerary of the catechumenate for adults, a custom which in the Eastern Churches is preserved and practiced also for children.

“There is an experience in which the ‘clay’ of our humanity allows itself to be shaped, not by changing opinions or by the necessary sociological analyses, but by the Word and the Spirit of the Risen Lord,” the Pope said.

A Liturgical Conference marking the 25th anniversary of the Instruction on the application of the liturgical prescriptions of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches has been taking place in Rome this week. With that in mind, Pope Francis told those gathered, “it an opportunity to get to know each other within the liturgical commissions of the different Churches sui iuris; it is an invitation to walk together with the Dicastery and its Consultors, according to the path indicated by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council.”

He also stressed that “the one and only symphonic Catholic Church should always listen to the other traditions, to their paths of research and reform, while preserving each one's own originality.”

Witness of communion

Drawing his speech to a close, Pope Francis said, “let us not forget that the brothers of the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches are watching us: even if we cannot sit at the same Eucharistic table, nevertheless we almost always celebrate and pray the same liturgical texts. Let us beware, therefore, of experiments that can harm the journey towards the visible unity of all Christ's disciples.”

In conclusion, the Pope underlined that “the world needs the witness of communion. “If we cause scandal with liturgical disputes, we play into the hands of him who is the master of division,” he said.