September 12 2023 18:40 | Berlin


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Gathered in Berlin in the spirit of Assisi, representatives of the world's Religions, we prayed for peace. We did so in this place where history speaks: memory of the war and of the wall that divided Europe. And here we realised that no wall is forever. In 1989 a peaceful revolution took place here that shows the strength of freedom. Let the walls soon fall, walls visible and invisible, dividing the peoples of Europe, Asia, Africa, in the Americas, walls in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea for migrants fleeing wars! Let the walls of the heart fall, that blind and prevent people from realising that the other is my sister and brother!
Today we feel more keenly our responsibility and together we turn into beggars of peace. Prudence is not enough, it is time for audacity! For this reason, on behalf of those who have no voice, we say out loud: 'No war is forever!' Peace does not mean surrendering to injustice: it means evading the mechanism of conflict, which runs the same way over and over again, and no one seems able to control it anymore.
War is the denial of the common destiny of peoples, it is the defeat of humanity. Those who start it take on a huge responsibility before humanity. With war, what is most human in us is disfigured. Today war risks becoming eternalised, widening its consequences, affecting populations even at great distances. Terrible is the use of deadly weapons that kill huge numbers of people, sowing grief and causing severe environmental consequences.
War blinds us and makes us lose memory of who we are. Wars, pandemics and climate change, population shifts and inequalities have consequences for everyone. No people, no continent can delude themselves that they are immune. We work in the service of a spiritual unity to regain the meaning of our common destiny. We humanise this global world: the Other is our Brother, the Other is our Sister! Among the rubble of World War 2 the dream of a common Europe was born, the dream of a world of peoples, brothers and equals. This, and no other, is the future we want to build!
We are aware that either we are able to end wars or wars will end humanity. The world, our common home, is one: it has been bequeathed to us and we must leave it to future generations. Let us liberate it from the nuclear nightmare! Let us give new life to the policy of disarmament, let us immediately stop the rumble of weapons.
This requires the audacity of peace, the courage to start talking to each other while there is still war. Those who suffer – Pope Francis said a year ago at the Colosseum – 'have the sacred right to implore peace in the name of all those who suffer, and it deserves to be heard'. We urgently need to listen to the suffocated cry for peace. Dialogue today, while weapons speak, does not weaken justice, rather it creates the conditions for a new architecture of security for all.
Let us start together from dialogue, which is the most effective remedy for the reconciliation of peoples. Peace is always possible!
Berlin, 12 September 2023