"God will call to account those who have not sought peace."

Maria José Atienza-October 20, 2020-Reading time: 4 minutes

Pope Francis took part in the International Meeting of Prayer for Peace "No One is Saved Alone - Peace and Fraternity" promoted by the Community of Sant'Egidio The event, which took place on the afternoon of October 20, brought together representatives of the world's major faiths in Rome.

The meeting, which began after 4:00 p.m., was divided into two parts. The first part focused on the prayer for peace of the various confessions. The Basilica of Santa Maria d'Aracoeli hosted the prayer of Pope Francis together with the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, and representatives of the various Orthodox and Protestant churches; while Jews gathered in the Synagogue and finally, Muslims and representatives of Buddhist and Eastern religions in the Capitoline Museums.

During this prayer meeting, the pope glossed the passage from Matthew in which he narrates the crucifixion of Christ and how the evil thief throws him that challenge Save yourself!a temptation, which Francis wanted to point out "is the temptation to think only of protecting oneself or one's own group, to have only one's own problems and interests in mind, while everything else does not matter."

The Pope also wanted to warn that this selfishness of the soul ends up creating a God to suit us. "How often we want a god to our measure, rather than to become the measure of God; a god like us, rather than to become like Him. But thus, instead of the adoration of God we prefer the cult of self". On Calvary, the Holy Father pointed out, ".the great duel took place between God who came to save us and man who wants to save himself; (...) The arms of Jesus, open on the cross, mark a turning point, because God does not point the finger at anyone, but embraces everyone".

Prayer, the root of peace

After the prayer service, the various religious leaders went to Piazza del Campidoglio in the presence of the President of the Italian Republic and the Mayoress of Rome. In his welcoming remarks, Prof. Andrea Riccardi emphasized that "today we have prayed with one another because prayer is the root of peace.". Pope Francis' latest encyclical, Fratelli Tuttiand its central theme: fraternity and social friendship, was repeatedly recalled by the attendees, as Sergio Mattarella, President of the Italian Republic, who wished to recall how he "The spirit of Assisi is being renewed today in Rome in a difficult time when the pandemic has highlighted our common fragility."and praised the role of religions in working for peace and solutions to crises. "the testimony of religions can help the world to emerge from resignation with confidence".

Also Bartholomew Ithe Patriarch of Constantinople, wished to emphasize, recalling the Fratelli Tutti y Laudato Si' how "to build the fraternity that leads to peace and justice, to feel familiar, we have to start by taking care of our common home in which we all find ourselves and everything created by God" (...) the great religions and their sacred texts show us a picture in which man is part of creation with all that it contains, the common home is a mirror in which our image is reflected".

The Muslim also took the floor, Mohamed Abdelsalam Abdellatif, General Secretary of the Superior Committee of the Human Fraternity, Haïm Korsia, Chief Rabbi of France, Shoten Minegishi, mBuddhist monk and a Sikh representative.

Peace, a primary task in politics

In his closing remarks in the square, Pope Francis recalled the spirit of Assisi that gave rise to this meeting of dialogue and prayer for peace among representatives of the Community of Sant'Egidio. In this sense, he recalled that that meeting enclosed "a prophetic seed" that has been maturing in encounters and ideas". and, although the current conflicts and tensions are evident, the Pope emphasized that "we must recognize the steps that have been taken in the encounter between religions and what has been worked on as brothers". which has led to developments such as the "Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Common Coexistence". 

As the Pope wanted to remind us, "the commandment of peace is inscribed in the depths of religions, the diversity of religions does not justify enmity but religions are at the service of peace."for all these reasons, he emphasized "I urge believers to pray for peace, not to resign themselves to war. To put an end to war is the duty of political leaders before God. God will call to account those who have not sought peace and have fomented tensions and war.".

No one is saved alone

¿How to prevent conflicts, how to pacify warlords, how to prevent conflicts and how to pacify warlords.asked the Pope "No people can achieve peace on its own. The lesson of the pandemic is to be a community that sails a common boat where the evil of one harms all, no one is saved alone."concluded the Holy Father.

After the Pope's words, those present observed a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the pandemic and of all wars, followed by the reading of the manifesto for peace. A manifesto that the religious leaders symbolically gave to a group of children of various nationalities and religions and they gave it to others present. The meeting ended with the symbolic gesture of lighting the candelabra of peace and the signing of the manifesto by the various religious representatives.

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