From Vatican News:
“War brings only death and destruction.”
Pope Francis spoke those words of warning on Sunday, following the Angelus prayer.
Without referring to any specific countries, the Pope said there is a “terrible air of tension” in many parts of the world.
“I call upon all parties to fan the flame of dialogue and self-control, and to banish the shadow of enmity,” he said.
The Pope then invited everyone to pray in silence for a moment for this intention.
US – Iran tensions
Pope Francis’ appeal comes on the heels of heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, after a US airstrike killed a top Iranian general in Iraq.
General Qassem Soleimani was the commander of the Quds Force, the wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps responsible for military activities outside Iran.
His death on Friday in Baghdad raised the threat of direct confrontation between the US and Iran.
The Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Louis Rafaël Sako, on Saturday expressed the Iraqi people’s shock at the event.
“It is deplorable that our country should be transformed into a place where scores are settled, rather than being a sovereign nation, capable of protecting its own land, its own wealth, its own citizens.”
He also called on all nations to exercise moderation, act reasonably, and sit down to seek understanding.
Amedeo Lomonaco – Vatican City
The escalation of the dispute between Washington and Tehran following the death of one of the key figures of the Iranian establishment, General Qassem Soleimani, victim of a US air attack, has raised apprehension in the Holy See. Pope Francis is said to be following the evolution of the situation and is praying for peace. The Apostolic Nuncio to Iran, Archbishop Leo Boccardi, spoke with us by telephone about the situation.
The Archbishop said that the Pope has been apprised of the entire situation after the killing of General Solemaini. All this, he said, creates concern and demonstrates how difficult it is to build and believe in peace. Constructive politics, he said, is at the service of peace to which the entire international community must be committed, not only in the Middle East, but in the whole world as well.
What is important in this difficult and delicate moment
Archbishop Boccardi acknowledged that there is a great deal of tension in Iran at the moment. Disbelief was followed by demonstrations, provoking violence, pain and protests. When asked what is important at this difficult and delicate moment, the Archbishop responded saying that tensions need to be lowered. Not only do all parties need to negotiate, but they also need “to believe in dialogue, knowing from what history has always taught, that war and weapons” do not resolve the problems afflicting the world. “We must believe in negotiation,” he reiterated.
Weapons of justice and good will
“Conflict must be rejected”, the Nuncio stated, so that the “weapons of justice and good will” can be taken up instead. This requires that effort be made to “bring the situation in the Middle East to the attention of the international community”, he said. He concluded citing an important rule of diplomacy: Pacta sunt servanda (agreements must be kept). “Everyone must respect the rules of law”.