With all the world’s conflicts, you would think that it all amounts to a piecemeal World War III. Pope Francis seems to think so.
The pope began his brief visit to northern Italy by first praying in a nearby, separate cemetery for some 15,000 soldiers from five nations of the Austro-Hungarian empire which were on the losing side of the Great War that broke out 100 years ago.
“War is madness,” he said in his homily before the massive, sloping granite memorial, made of 22 steps on the side of hill with three crosses at the top.
In the past few months, Francis has made repeated appeals for an end to conflicts in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Gaza and parts of Africa.
“War is irrational; its only plan is to bring destruction: it seeks to grow by destroying,” he said. “Greed, intolerance, the lust for power. These motives underlie the decision to go to war and they are too often justified by an ideology …,” he said.
Last month the pope, who has often condemned the concept of war in God’s name, said it would be legitimate for the international community to use force to stop “unjust aggression” by Islamic State militants who have killed or displaced thousands of people in Iraq and Syria, many of them Christians.