The Italian newspaper “Il Fatto Quotidiano” anticipates the release of Pope Francis’ preface to the book “Un’enciclica sulla pace in Ucraina” (“An Encyclical on Peace in Ukraine”) in which he reiterates the senselessness of war, which, he says “offends the most holy Name of God”.
By Lisa Zengarini
Pope Francis has penned the preface to a new book by Italian Vaticanist journalist Francesco Grana of “Il Fatto Quotidiano“ newspaper, gathering his countless appeals for peace in Ukraine. Entitled Un’enciclica sulla pace in Ucraina (“An Enclyclical on Peace in Ukraine”), the book is published by Edizioni Terra Santa.
It will be officially launched on December 6 at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Montesanto in Rome, in the presence of Archbishop Rino Fisichella, pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization, together with the rector of the Basilica, Mgr Walter Insero; Fr. Ruslan Mykhalkiv, rector of the Seminary of Vorzel, in Ukraine; and of Ukrainian artists Oleksandr Klymenko and Sonia Atlanova.
In the preface, published on Monday by “Il Fatto Quotidiano”, Pope Francis reflects on hope in the Christian perspective, on the unjustifiability and senselessness of war, and on the duty of everybody to actively uphold peace.
Hope in the Christian perspective
The Pope significantly starts with a quote from the famous Italian novel “I Promessi Sposi” (“The Betrothed”), by Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni: “I have never found the Lord to begin a miracle without finishing it.” He said this sentence inspired the motto he has chosen for the 2025 Jubilee Year: “Pilgrims of hope”.
He notes in this regard that Benedict XVI has offered us a marvellous encyclical on hope, Spe salvi, in which the Pope emeritus highlights the power of Christian hope amid adversities based on the confidence in the redemption of Christ, and on the “certainty that the Lord takes us by hand and lifts us up because He doesn’t want us to remain on the ground”.
“Christians must have the gaze of Christ, who embraces from below, who seeks those who are lost, with compassion. This is, and must be, the gaze of the Church, always, the gaze of Christ, not the condemning gaze.”
War offends the name of God
In light of this, Pope Francis insists that no Christian can give a moral or religious justification to the “senseless and blasphemous” war in Ukraine, and of every war, which “offends the most holy name of God”.
“We, men of God who proclaim the Gospel of the Risen One, have the duty to cry out this truth of faith: God is a God of peace, love, and hope. A God who wants us all to be brothers, as His Son Jesus Christ taught us. The horrors of war, of every war, offend the most holy name of God. And they offend Him even more if His name is abused to justify such unspeakable carnage.”
With war, everyone loses
Citing Pope Pius XII’s words on the eve of the outbreak of the Second World War, Pope Francis once again warns that “in war, everyone loses”, even “those who did not take part in it and who, in cowardly indifference, stood by and watched this horror without intervening to bring peace”.
Indeed, he says, “all of us, in whatever role, have the duty to be beacons of peace” and “no one is entitled to look the other way”
Pope Francis then thanks Francesco Antonio Grana for collecting his appeals and also ilfattoquotidiano.it for giving wide resonance to his words in these over nine months of war.
We must not become accustomed to this piecemeal third world war
He concludes the preface by reiterating his prayers for peace in Ukraine, and by once again urging everyone “not to get accustomed” to this piecemeal third world war, which, he says “is becoming a full-fledged third world war under our eyes”.