“A me che importa?” “Why should I care?”
Cain’s response when asked by God of his brother’s whereabouts, Pope Francis said, is the same response humanity has when going to war. The Holy Father arrived this morning to the “Sacrario di Redipuglia”, located in northern Italy, to commemorate the centenary of the start of WWI. It is the site of a cemetery and memorial for the victims of the war.
The Pope flew from Rome’s Ciampino airport shortly after 8am and was driven first to the Austro-Hungarian Cemetery of Foligno in Redipuglia. There he spent some time in silent prayer for the victims, laying a floral wreath for the over 100,000 Italian soldiers memorialized there.
At the start of his homily, the Holy Father said that while experiencing the beauty of Italy’s northern region, the war memorial in Redipuglia brought one thought to mind: “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,” he said. “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.”
While greed, intolerance and lust for power are the motives that “underlie” the decision to go to war, the Pope said that while justified often by an ideology, there is “distorted passion” behind it all.
“Ideology is presented as a justification and when there is no ideology, there is the response of Cain: ‘Why should I care? Am I my brother’s keeper?’ (cf. Gen 4:9). War does not look directly at anyone, be they elderly, children, mothers, fathers…. “Why should I care?”
The plans, dreams, and lives of those buried there, he continued, were cut short by humanity’s indifference. “Humanity said, ‘Why should I care?’” the Pope said.
The 77 year old Pontiff also called attention to those who, in today’s world, have this same attitude when it comes to war.
“These plotters of terror, these schemers of conflicts, just like arms dealers, have engraved in their hearts, ‘Why should I care?’ It is the task of the wise to recognize errors, to feel pain, to repent, to beg for pardon and to cry.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis said that all must have a conversion from indifference to tears, to weep for the victims of “senseless massacre” and “mindless wars”.
“Humanity needs to weep,” he said, “and this is the time to weep.”