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‘Violence is the work of the Devil,’ says Pope on world day of prayer for peace

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The Pope reflected on peace during his morning homily before travelling to Assisi

Humanity should feel ashamed it can wage war, kill the innocent, bomb cities and prevent food and medicine from reaching survivors, Pope Francis said today during his morning homily.

Violence and division are the work of the devil who “wants to kill everyone," and that is why people need to come together and pray for peace, united in the conviction that “God is a God of peace," he said today which marks a world day of prayer for peace.

“There is no god of war," he said.

Just a few hours before heading to an inter-religious gathering in the Italian town of Assisi, Pope Francis dedicated his homily to peace during morning Mass in the chapel of his residence.

The Pope and some 450 religious leaders from around the world were marking the 30th anniversary of the first inter-religious meeting and prayer for peace organised by St John Paul II in 1986.

Men and women representing the world’s religions were going to Assisi, “not to put on a show, but simply to pray and pray for peace," Pope Francis said in his morning homily.

The world is at war and suffering, and no one can remain indifferent to that, he said, quoting the last verse of the day’s first reading from the Book of Proverbs: “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will himself also call and not be heard."

“If we today shut our ear to the cry of these people who suffer being bombed, who suffer exploitation by arms traffickers, it could be that when it’s our turn no one will respond to us," he said.

Perhaps “we don’t see" war personally or “we get frightened" by an act of terrorism, he said. But none of that can compare to what is happening in some parts of the world “where day and night, the bombs fall and fall … killing children, the elderly, men and women."

War, in fact, really isn’t that far away at all, he added. “War touches everyone" because “war begins in the heart."

The Pope prayed that God would “give us peace in our heart, eliminate every urge for avarice, greediness, conflict." He prayed that people’s hearts would be the hearts of men and women of peace and that they would be able to see beyond religious differences “because we are all children of God."

While he and the leaders were praying in Assisi, he asked that everyone pray and “feel shame. Shame for this: that human beings, our brothers and sisters, are capable of doing this," of killing and wounding others and carrying out bombing campaigns that prevent the delivery of needed food and medicine.

Think of the children and elderly, he said, who are “starving and ill."

The Assisi peace day, he said, is a day of prayer, penance and “weeping for peace," a day to hear the cry of the poor, which opens the heart to mercy and love, and “saves us from self-centeredness."


1 comment

  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    “Violence and division are the work of the devil who “wants to kill everyone,"
    But in the bible, Yahweh kills millions while the devil kills no one – except perhaps Job’s family, with Yahweh’s permission – the text is unclear as to who does the killing. Yahweh commands the Israelites to kill every man, woman, child and beast (except virgin girls who may be taken as war booty), in just one example of his mandated killing sprees. Was that actually the work of the devil? (In some early Christian/Gnostic texts that didn’t make the bible for obvious reasons, Yahweh is actually the bad guy that a celestial Jesus saves us from – see “The Other Bible”).
    I am unaware of any biblical support for the devil doing or commanding violence, while the bible has page after page of Yahweh doing exactly that. Was it the work of the devil when the Holy Roman Catholic Church killed people in conquests, inquisitions, forced conversions, etc.? Was that the work of the devil, and if so why should we rely on a Church that can’t prevent the devil from controlling it and forcing it to propagate evil?
    “There is no god of war," he said."
    There is evidence to indicate that Yahweh began as a minor Canaanite god, became the God of War, and eventually became the only God. Google “was yahweh god of war" and start researching.

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