VATICAN CITY — On behalf of Pope Francis, the Holy See sent a nota verbale to all embassies of countries it has diplomatic relations with, urging ambassadors to work for peace.
According to Vatican Radio, the note, which has not yet been made public, was signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. It included texts from recent speeches Pope Francis has given calling for peace, particularly in the Middle East.
In comments made to the Vatican agency, Msgr. Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with states in the Roman Curia, said the note serves as a gesture inviting the entire international community to take the question of peace to heart. He added the note comes at a time of particularly strong violations of human rights in the Middle East.
Pope Francis has made several appeals for peace in recent weeks, including personal phone calls to the presidents of both Israel and Palestine asking for greater peace efforts. He also called Syro-Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Youssef III Younan of Antioch and Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon Louis Raphael I Sako to assure them of his prayers in the wake of increasing violence toward Christians in Iraq.
The Pope’s weekly Sunday Angelus addresses for nearly the past month have focused on peace, including yet another heartfelt appeal in wake of the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, July 28, 1914. The Holy Father noted how Pope Benedict XV had called the war a “senseless slaughter” that, “after four long years,” resulted “in a most fragile peace.”
Lamenting the millions killed in the “immense destruction” of the First World War, Pope Francis urged attendees to learn from a history that is “increasingly dominated by the demands of peace through patient and courageous dialogue.”
He asked those present, “Continue to join me in prayer, that the Lord may grant the people and authorities of [the Middle East] the wisdom and strength needed to push ahead on the path of peace by addressing each dispute with the tenacity of dialogue and negotiation with the power of reconciliation.”
“Brothers and sisters: Never war! Never war!” he exclaimed.
The Holy Father also grieved the effect of war on children who are killed, wounded, maimed or orphaned and have lost “hope for a decent life” and “do not know how to smile” anymore.
“Stop, please,” he said to those involved in violent conflict. “I ask you with all my heart.”