VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Marking the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Pope Francis repeated the Catholic Church’s call for a ban on nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction.
Seventy years after the Aug. 6, 1945, bombing of Hiroshima and the bombing of Nagasaki three days later, “this tragic event still gives rise to horror and revulsion,” the pope said Aug. 9 after reciting the Angelus with visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
The atomic bombings of the two Japanese cities by the United States during World War II, he said, have become a symbol of “the vast destructive power of human beings when they make distorted use of scientific and technical progress.”
At the same time, he said, the destruction unleashed is a lasting call to humanity to reject war and “ban nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction.”
“Most of all, the sad anniversary is a call to pray and work for peace, to spread throughout the world an ethic of brotherhood and a climate of serene coexistence among peoples,” Pope Francis said.
“From every land,” he prayed, “let one voice rise: no to war, no to violence, yes to dialogue, yes to peace!”
“The only way to win a war is not to make war,” the pope said.
Pope Francis also told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square that he was following with deep concern the news coming out of El Salvador, where suffering is increasing because of growing violence, economic difficulties and “acute social contrasts.”
“I encourage the dear Salvadoran people to persevere, united in hope, and I exhort all to pray that in the land of Blessed Oscar Romero justice and peace will bloom again,” he said.
In his main Angelus address, Pope Francis spoke about the day’s Gospel reading from St. John, which includes Jesus telling the people, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him.”
Jesus, the pope said, is teaching the people that faith is a relationship between “the human person — each of us — and Jesus,” a relationship in which the Father and the Holy Spirit each have essential roles.
While reading the Bible is important, he said, reading the Scriptures or even witnessing a miracle is not enough to bring someone to faith. Many people met Jesus during his lifetime — and some even wanted to make him king — but in the end, they turned on him and handed him over to the authorities.
Pope Francis said that does not mean that God did not give them the gift of faith, but rather it means “their hearts were closed to the action of the spirit of God. And if you have a closed heart, faith cannot enter.”
The pope prayed that people would learn to leave their hearts open, like Mary did, to the gift of faith, “a gift that is not private — a gift that’s not private property — but a gift to be shared. It is a gift for the life of the world.”
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103