In the Angelus of March 16, 2003, with the imminent invasion of Iraq by the United States of America, despite his weak voice, John Paul II launched a strong appeal to the international community: “There is still room for peace”, he said.
The Vatican newspaper “L”Osservatore Romano” dedicated almost the entire front page to this appeal by the Pope, something that was unusual. The phrase, in capital letters, occupied almost half of the page, accompanied by a quote from a paragraph that the Pope introduced, improvised, in the official text: “I belong to the generation that lived through the Second World War and survived it. I have a duty to say to all young people, those who are younger than me, who have not had this experience: Never again war!” first visit to the United Nations.
The world did not accept Paul VI’s appeal. The United States did not listen to John Paul II and, days later, on March 20, it invaded Iraq. Twenty years later, it is clear that that war did not solve any of Iraq’s problems, on the contrary: it further aggravated the instability of the Middle East and greatly enhanced what it was intended to combat – terrorism.
Today, war continues to be promoted, despite the fact that it is already known that it does not solve, but exacerbates humanity’s problems even more. Pope Francis, like his predecessors, has denounced the insanity of war and called for peace. When asked what gift he would like to receive at the celebration of the 10.O year of his pontificate, he replied: “Peace, we need peace!”. However, the gift that the World is giving him is a “Third World War in pieces”. It saddens him to go down in history as the Pope of this troubled period in which weapons prevailed over diplomacy.