The Pope’s Message of Peace on the WWI Centenary

The Pope’s Message of Peace on the WWI Centenary

The Pope's Message of Peace on the WWI Centenary
Damir Jelic [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons
Pope Francis referred to Angelus and helping the poor.

During the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis spoke at length about the First World War's 100th anniversary, World Day of the Poor, peace, and the beatification of 16 Spaniards.[/tweetit] He described the Great War through the words of the pope at that time, Pope Benedict XV, who described the horrific event as “useless slaughter.” The First World War, he continued, as the then pope said, was a marked warning to reject all “culture of war.” Benedict XV urged everyone to search every legitimate solution to finally end such conflicts which bled people to death all over the globe.

The Pope’s Message of Peace on the WWI Centenary[/tweetthis]

Pope Benedict XV was appointed to the position a month after World War I began its terrible toll in 1914. He died only eight years later, at an untimely 67 years of age. Benedict wrote a total of three apostolic exhortations and five encyclicals on the subject of peace. The First World War killed 17 million individuals, including civilians and soldiers. The date November 11, 2018, is the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice between the Allies in France and Germany. This treaty effectively ended the first of two World Wars in 1918. Pope Francis did not fail to note Armistice Day is also the Saint Martin of Tours feast day. He called Saint Martin, the soldier cum Saint who cut half his cloak to share with a destitute individual a “gesture of human solidarity.” This kind of action, the pope said, represents a solution for peace.

The principal thrust of his Angelus speech was the poor widow mentioned in the Gospel by Matthew, who willingly gave up her two coins to the Temple. Those two coins constituted her entire livelihood. Francis explained the significance of this action, saying the widow, by her sacrifice, performed an act having great spiritual and religious significance. The pope reminded his audience Jesus was keenly aware of the immensity of the sacrifice, who understood it as a complete gift of self, which Christ wanted his disciples to emulate.

Pope Francis referred to Angelus to helping the poor. He said the second World Day of the Poor is November 18 and will be accompanied by multiple evangelization initiatives, sharing, and prayer. A health garrison will be established in St. Peter's Square. It will provide treatment to those who need it and will last for a week. He said it is his hope the World Day of the Poor will lead to attention being paid to the hungry and the marginalized.


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