Pope Francis: “Build the future together or there will be no future.”-By Gerard O’Connell, America Magazine Feb 4th 2019 with reporting from AP
These excellent words about Peace from Pope Francis, spoken last year have even more meaning now in June 2020 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd RIP on Monday 25th May in Minneapolis, USA and the subsequent outpouring of anger against police violence.
“Either we build the future together or there will be no future” Pope Francis said at an important inter-religious meeting in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 4th 2019 between himself and Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of Egypt’s highest seat of learning.
The background to the Pope’s call for peace is the fact that his hosts, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) are deeply involved in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, in which airstrikes are killing civilians and the conflict is pushing the country to the brink of famine.
Francis, who is greatly respected in the Muslim world, said the world’s religions are called “to contribute actively to demilitarizing the human heart.”
In a region where arms are ever in demand, Pope Francis reminded his audience that “the arms race... will never bring stability … weapons bring nothing but death.”
Pope Francis said: “Let us commit ourselves against the logic of armed power, the arming of borders, the raising of walls, the gagging of the poor. Let us oppose all this with the sweet power of prayer and daily commitment to dialogue.”
We gravely profane God’s name when we use it to justify hatred and violence against a brother or sister.”
Pope Francis told the other religious leaders that “the enemy of fraternity is…the desire to affirm oneself and one’s own group above others.”
“Peace dies when it is divorced from justice, but justice is false if it is not universal; justice addressed only to family members, compatriots, believers of the same faith is a limping justice; it is a disguised injustice!”
By Gerard O’Connell, America Magazine Feb 4th 2019 with reporting from AP