He L´Osservatore Romano in Spanish this week commemorates a year of war in Ukraine. In a special editorial, Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of the Vatican Communications Department, recalls this fact and the task of Pope Francis.
According to Tornielli “Faced with this senseless destruction in the heart of Christian Europe, where soldiers who share the same baptism fight, a massacre that leads humanity towards self-destruction at ever faster steps, one cannot fail to return to the dramatic question that the Successor of Peter addressed to the international community and to each of us: ‘Has everything possible been done to stop the war?’ It is difficult to answer with a ‘yes’ in the face of the aphasia and lack of creativity of diplomacy and international organizations. Difficult to say ‘yes’ to the acceleration of the arms race and the militaristic rhetoric of single thought that stigmatizes any doubt about the war escalation”.
“Pope Francis has made countless appealsshouting, in step with his predecessors, his sense ‘Not to the war!’. It is the same ‘Never again to war!’ that Saint Paul VI implored before the assembly of the United Nations on October 4, 1965, is that ‘Never again to war!’ that Saint John Paul II shouted – ill and unfortunately not heard – at the Angelus on March 16, 2003, to prevent the shameful invasion of Iraq, the consequences of which are still visible to all after the transformation for many years of that country into the laboratory of all fundamentalist terrorism… And the wounds of hatred and resentment caused by the barbarity of the war will surely remain for longer than is necessary to rebuild Ukraine”.
On the back cover of this Spanish-language edition of the official newspaper of the Holy See, the message of Francis in the traditional catechesis on Wednesdays, coinciding with the General Audience, is published in full. At the end of it, and about the year of the war, Francis expressed the following: “Dear brothers and sisters: The day after tomorrow, February 24, will be one year since the invasion of Ukraine, the beginning of this absurd and cruel war. . A sad anniversary! The balance of deaths, injuries, refugees and displaced persons, destruction, economic and social damage speaks for itself. Will the Lord be able to forgive so many crimes and so much violence? He is the God of peace. Let us remain close to the martyred Ukrainian people, who continue to suffer. And let’s ask ourselves: Has everything possible been done to stop the war? I appeal to those in authority over nations to make a concrete commitment to end the conflict, reach a ceasefire and start peace negotiations. It will never be a true victory that is built on the rubble!”.
An appeal not to forget “those who suffer” and to make “our charity attentive” and “concrete” was launched by Pope Francis in Saint Peter’s Square at the end of the Angelus on February 19. In particular the Pontiff referred to Syria and Turkey, victims of the earthquake on February 6, the “dear Ukrainian people” martyred by war and the New Zealander hit by a devastating cyclone. Leaning out at noon from the window of the private study of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, before the Marian prayer Francis offered a meditation on the Sunday Gospel (Matthew 5, 38-48), in which Jesus invites us to turn the other cheek and love even to enemies. Specifically, he asked “Not to respond to evil with evil, to dare in the good, to risk in the gift, even if we receive little or nothing in return.” Because it is with love that enmities are slowly overcome and the wounds of hatred heal. The full text of his homily is published with this edition.
On the afternoon of February 22, Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis went to the Aventine Hill for the celebration in the form of the Roman “Seasons” that marks the day of the beginning of Lent. First in the Benedictine church of San Anselmo there was a moment of prayer, which was followed by the penitential procession to the Dominican basilica of Santa Sabina. Here the Pontiff presided over the mass with the Rite of blessing and imposition of the ashes, pronouncing the homily that is published in full in this issue.
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“Your work deals with regulations, processes and sanctions, but you must never lose sight of rights, putting… people at the center.” The Pope underlined this by speaking to the participants of the training course for legal workers entitled “The ‘Ministerium Iustitiae’ in the synodal action of the Church”, promoted by the Tribunal of the Roman Rota from February 14 to 18. Francisco received them in audience on the 18th in the Clementine Room.
“The lay faithful are not ‘guests’ in the Church, they are at homeTherefore, they are called to take care of it”. The Pope told the participants in the congress of the presidents and referents of the Commissions for the laity within the Episcopal Conferences, promoted in the Vatican from February 16 to 18 by the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life on the theme: “Pastors and lay faithful called to walk together”. The Pontiff met with them on February 18 in the New Synod Hall, at the conclusion of the work. It is published with this edition and double central page the complete text of the aforementioned speech.
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