On All Souls' Day, Pope Francis prays for an end to war
We should beg God to put an end to the violence and destruction wrought by war, especially as the world seems to prepare for another conflict, Pope Francis said on All Souls' Day.
Today “the world is at war again and is preparing itself to go more heavily into war. No more, Lord! No more! With war, you lose everything!” the Pope said Nov. 2.
“This is what we should say today; that we pray for all the dead, but in this place we pray in a special way for these young people (killed in war).”
Pope Francis said gave a short homily at Mass for All Souls' Day at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial in Nettuno, an Italian cemetery for American personnel killed in World War II.
Located a little more than 20 miles south of Albano Laziale and dedicated in 1956, the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery covers 77 acres. There are 7,860 servicemen buried there and in a chapel on the grounds are the names of 3,095 servicemen who went missing in action.
Most of those who are buried in the Nettuno cemetery died in the liberation of Sicily, the landings at Salerno and Anzio, and in air and naval support of these operations in 1943 and 1944.
In recent tradition, popes have said an All Souls' Day Mass at Rome's Campo Verano cemetery, founded in the 19th century. Pope Francis did the same for the first three years of his pontificate, though in 2016 he chose to say the All Souls' Day Mass at Rome's Prima Porta Cemetery instead.
All those present at the cemetery today are “gathered together in hope,” he said. But often this hope has its roots in human suffering, such as the suffering of war.
But it is “better to hope without this destruction,” he pointed out and without the death of “thousands upon thousands” of young people.
Therefore, he said, “if today is a day of hope, today is also a day of tears.” Tears just like those cried by the women who mourn the death of a husband or a child who has died in service to their homeland. “It’s tears that humanity today must not forget,” he emphasized.
The Pope explained that pride is the vice which leads people to seek solutions to problems through a declaration of war, and that humanity “has not learned the lesson” nor does it seem to “want to learn it.”
Francis concluded by reminding that today is a day to pray for all the dead, but that we should pray especially for those young people killed in war and buried in the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery.
“We also pray,” he continued, “for the dead of today, the dead of war, even innocent children. This is the fruit of war: death.”