The Church of Francis: ” “prayer and geopolitics” “

The Pope's relentless commitment to increase Catholics' open and serene presence in our complex era

“‘In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor. I underscore the verb ‘stop'”. The Pope’s press conference on the return flight from a most significant visit to Korea has gained worldwide attention. Pope Francis, with his renowned “callejero method” made a set of very important statements on structural issues pertaining to global geo-political current events. First of all, he referred to the situation in Iraq. In the first days of August, the Pope reiterated – as his predecessors had done before him in the World War era, that broke out precisely one hundred years ago – “no more war”. He has now underlined the need for concrete action in given circumstances. Without entering into the merits of this case, which is not the Church’s competence, yet in clear terms, Bergoglio added: “I’m not saying ‘bomb’ or ‘make war,’ just ‘stop.'” Indeed, “the means that can be used to stop them must be evaluated”. His Holiness went on: “To stop an unjust aggressor is a right of humanity, but it is also a right of the aggressor to be stopped in order not to do evil deeds”. This emphasis, which is obviously not incidental, prompts further reflection that the Pope broached when answering questions from journalists. The first statement was rapidly echoed throughout the whole world, juxtaposed by concerned questions on our collective future that spread across the Internet. “Today – Pope Francis said in simple words – we are in a world at war everywhere! Someone told me, ‘You know, Father, we are in the Third World War, but it is being fought ‘piecemeal.’ Do you understand? It is a world at war, where these acts of cruelty take place”. Never like this year – has a Pope been more accurate and timely in denouncing Christians’ martyrdom, along with that of all persecuted peoples and individuals. We have thus reached the essence of the Magisterium whereby with apparently colloquial – albeit straightforward terms – Pope Francis is developing the major themes of global geopolitics, with utmost clarity and realism. In order to look forward a third passage is crucial: when answering a question on whether the prayer for peace in the Holy Land held in the Vatican could be described as “a failure”, the Pope highlighted the significance and the topical relevance of that gesture that “has opened the door of prayer”. In fact, we must “say to humanity that together with the path of negotiation – which is important, and of dialogue – which is also important, there is also the path of prayer”. The resumption of armed conflict in Gaza “was circumstantial. The meeting itself was not circumstantial: prayer is a basic step, a basic human attitude”. This is the fundamental shape whereby the Church and Catholic faithful are present in our complex world. It is the foundation for the development of serene, open and decisive interlocution which is a resource for us all, and to which Pope Francis is relentlessly committed.

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