Pope, religious leaders launch appeal: 'No more war and universal ceasefire'
"With firm conviction we say: no more war! Let us stop all conflict."
This was the appeal of Pope Francis and religious leaders at the closing ceremony of the annual 'Spirit of Assisi' prayer for peace held the afternoon of 25 October, at the Colosseum, and also the words that he and the religious leaders a year ago, gathered in the same place.
The three-day peace summit, held under the theme 'Il Grido della Pace' (The Cry for Peace), was hosted by the Community of Sant’Egidio, and has been welcoming presidents, religious leaders, and various high-ranking authorities.
The Spirit of Assisi
This marks the 36th edition of the meetings initiated in the wake of the historic World Day of Interreligious Prayer for Peace of 27 October 1986, with Pope St. John Paul II.
The representatives of the Christian Churches and World Religions began their appeal by directing their concerns to the world and to the leaders of states.
"We become the voice of those who suffer from war, of the refugees and of the families of all the victims and those who have died."
“With firm conviction we say: no more war! Let us stop all conflict. War carries only death and destruction; it is an adventure with no return in which we are all losers. Let the guns be silent; let a universal ceasefire be declared at once.”
Invitation for negotiations
The leaders also called for peace talks and dialogue.
“Let negotiations capable of leading to just solutions for a stable and lasting peace be activated soon before it is too late. Let dialogue be resumed to nullify the threat of nuclear weapons.”
After the horrors and pains of World War II, the appeal continued, the nations were able to mend the deep rifts of the conflict and, through multilateral dialogue, to create the United Nations Organization.
It was the result of an aspiration for peace, which they note is necessary, today more than ever.
"We are at a crossroads," the appeal highlights, stressing: "we can either be the generation that lets the planet and humanity die, the one that accumulates and trades weapons, living under the illusion of being able to save ourselves against others, or we can be the generation that creates new ways of living together, that does not invest in weapons, that abolishes war as a means of conflict resolution and stops the excessive exploitation of planetary resources."
Abuse of the name of God
They stressed that believers must work for peace in every possible way, saying it is "our duty" to "help disarm hearts" and to "call for reconciliation among peoples."
“Unfortunately, even among ourselves we have at times been divided by abusing the holy name of God: we ask forgiveness for this, with humility and shame. Religions are, and must continue to be, a great resource for peace. Peace is holy; war can never be holy!”
Humanity must end wars, dismantle nuclear weapons
If humanity does not end wars, wars will end humanity, the appeal noted, adding that the world is not our possession but belongs likewise to future generations.
"Therefore," it stressed, "let us rid it of the nuclear nightmare."
"Let us immediately reopen a serious dialogue on nuclear non-proliferation and the dismantling of atomic weapons."
“Let us start again together from dialogue, which is an effective medicine for the reconciliation of peoples. Let us invest in every path of dialogue. Peace is always possible! War never again! Never again one against the other!”