Sight Magazine – Pope and other leaders call for end to ‘nuclear nightmare’


Roma, Italy

Pope Francis joined other religious leaders at the Colosseum in Rome on Tuesday to appeal for peace and end what they called the “nuclear nightmare” as fears mount over the use of atomic weapons in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

A ceremony in the ancient Roman arena capped off a conference on promoting world peace. The Community of Sant’Egidio, a Catholic charity with close ties to the Vatican, organized the three-day event in the Italian capital.

Pope Francis and other religious leaders attend the final day of the international peace conference ‘Cry for Peace’ (Il grids della pace) organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio in front of the Colosseum in Rome on Tuesday, 25 october. PHOTO: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini.

In his remarks to attendees, Francis noted that Pope John XXIII urged government leaders exactly 60 years ago, during the US-Russia Cuban Missile Crisis, to spare the world a nuclear holocaust.

“Sixty years later, these words still impress us with their timeliness,” Francis said. “I make them mine.”

“Today, peace has been gravely violated, assaulted and trampled on, and this in Europe, on the very continent which, in the last century, endured the horrors of two world wars.” lamented the Pope.

“Today, in fact, something we dreaded and hoped never to hear about again is squarely threatened: the use of atomic weapons, which even after Hiroshima and Nagasaki have continued to be produced and wrongly tested” , said Francis, referring to the American atomic weapon. bombardment of two Japanese cities at the end of World War II in the Pacific.

At various times during the war in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials hinted at the possibility of using nuclear weapons to protect Russian territory, including annexed areas.

Despite wars in too many parts of the world these days, he said, “the call for peace cannot be suppressed. It rises from the hearts of mothers; it is deeply engraved on the faces of refugees, displaced families, the wounded and the dying. ” Francis said.

The ceremony ended with the reading aloud of a joint appeal for peace from the pope and other religious leaders. Francis and the religious representatives present then signed the document.

“Before it is too late, let negotiations capable of reaching just solutions for a stable and lasting peace be activated,” the appeal states.

“Peace is sacred. War can never be like this. Humanity must end wars, or it will be war to end humanity,” it reads.

The appeal included a call for the world to be “rid of the nuclear nightmare”, for the sake of future generations.

Italy Rome Colosseum religious leaders2

Pope Francis and other religious leaders attend a common prayer with all Christians at the Colosseum in Rome, Tuesday, October 25, concluding the international peace conference “Cry for Peace” organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio. PHOTO: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini.

Edith Bruck, a Hungarian-born writer who lives in Rome and is a friend of Pope Francis, distributed copies of the document to young people at the ceremony.

At the start of Tuesday’s event, the pontiff circled around the interior of the Colosseum in a wheelchair led by aides for a prayer with other Christian leaders. Francis, 85, often uses a wheelchair because of a knee problem.

Outside the arena, other religious figures, including the chief rabbi of Rome, greeted him for final speeches and roll call.


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