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Homily of Pope Francis

At the Prayer Vigil for Peace, the Pope's homily included these words:

My Christian faith urges me to look to the Cross. How I wish that all men and women of good will would look to the Cross if only for a moment! There, we can see God’s reply: violence is not answered with violence, death is not answered with the language of death. In the silence of the Cross, the uproar of weapons ceases and the language of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue, and peace is spoken. This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions, and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: violence and war are never the way to peace!


About the Author

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.



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A Masterpiece!

It is a powerful homily.  While I find the portion Fr. Imbelli's excerpted to be moving, if I were to select a portion of the homily to draw particular attention to, it would be this:

Even today, we let ourselves be guided by idols, by selfishness, by our own interests, and this attitude persists. We have perfected our weapons, our conscience has fallen asleep, and we have sharpened our ideas to justify ourselves. As if it were normal, we continue to sow destruction, pain, death! Violence and war lead only to death, they speak of death! Violence and war are the language of death!

Idolatry is the proper sin to speak of.  Militarism, weapons, warmaking are idols.  We falsely believe they can solve the problems in Syria.  But "violence and war lead only to death".  Amen

The vigil is being streamed live with English translation here:

For any NYC residents -- the Catholic Worker is sponsoring a vigil in Washington Square from 6;30pm to 8:30pm.  I'm headed there:

Dear Friends,

    We’re responding to Pope Francis’s call for people to participate in
public vigils supporting an antiwar initiative and opposing the futile
pursuit of a military solution in Syria. Thank you for your help in
distributing this as widely as possible.

    Urging leaders at the G20 summit in Russia to pursue a negotiated end
to Syria’s civil war, Pope Francis also called on people to join in a
day of fasting and prayer, on Saturday, September 7.  The Pope urged
people in Rome to join him for a vigil at St. Peter’s Square which
will feature moments of silent prayer as well as remarks by Pope
Francis.  We are asking people in New York to join us for a vigil at
Washington Square Park, West 4th Street and MacDougal Street,
Saturday, September 7, 2013, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.  The vigil will
include speakers, time for silence and possible participation of local

    We will provide banners that quote Pope Francis’s call for laying
aside war as a futile pursuit.  We’ll also hand out fliers giving
people the phone numbers of congressional representatives.  Please
feel free to bring additional signs and messages.


     Martha Hennessy, Kathy Kelly and Carmen Trotta, members of the New
York Catholic Worker community


I am not sure how to interpret the language of homilies.  What exactly does it mean to say, "in the silence of the Cross, the uproar of weapons ceases ..."?  Is it possible that "the language of reconcliation, forgiveness, dialogue, and peace is spoken" BUT that the uproar of weapons and their lethal effects goes right on?  Is the Cross really causing the deaths, mutilations, destructions, and all the human misery associated with them to cease? Can one ask questions of this papal eloquence? 

In the silence of the Cross, the uproar of weapons ceases and the language of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue, and peace is spoken. - See more at:
In the silence of the Cross, the uproar of weapons ceases and the language of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue, and peace is spoken. - See more at:

Peter writes: "Can one ask questions of this papal eloquence?"

Of course, as you are doing!

ONE possible reflection: Francis is clearly confessing his faith that "God's reply" to the violence humans generate, the chaos they introduce into God's good creation, is finally to absorb the hatred and violence by the self-giving love that is fully manifest on the cross of Christ. Hence his poignant appeal to contemplate the cross.

Equally clearly, standing behind the short homily is the New Testament vision of the efficacy of Christ's death for human salvation, as comes to expression, for example, in Ephesians chapter two.

But I'm not saying anything Peter doesn't know.


In his homily Pope Francis said:

"Am I really my brother’s keeper?" "Yes, you are your brother’s keeper! To be human means to care for one another... ."

Couldn't that be Obama's justification?

That's Obama's justification?  That he cares for them so much for the Syrian people that he'll kill them?

Duke of Gloucester. Simple, plain Clarence! I do love thee so,
That I will shortly send thy soul to heaven,
If heaven will take the present at our hands.

How many Syrians have to die to assuage Obama's humanitarianism?

Obama cares so much that even though they had information three days before the attack, they did not warn anybody


You may be right.  the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

My concern with your comment is that you seem to be unwilling to consider the thought that our president has good intentions.

The Bard also said, "I must be cruel to be kind".  This is the problem of evil all over again.

Pope Francis is talking as if he is a pacifist.  Is he?  When if ever ought one to be a pacifist?


I don't know whether Pope Francis would consider any use of weapons indefensible. My reading of his homily and his letter to the G20 via Putin is that he does not think the situation in Syria would be in any way helped by recourse to arms.

Regarding last evening's Vigil, I would be interested to know if there was coverage by the major papers. I found nothing in today's "Boston Globe." As far as I could tell online, the "New York Times" does not mention it. Am I wrong? The "Washington Post" seems to have an AP story.

To summarize the homily: 1. The world is good because it is God's creation. 2. But violence has entered the world because of man's sin. 3. So what to do? Consider the cross of Christ: violence and war are never the way to peace. Instead: forgiveness, dialogue, reconciliation.

I note the absolute, unconditional statement: "violence and war are never the way to peace." It is, of course, nothing out of the ordinary with respect to the gospels, but in contemporary society, that's pretty radical. 

This pope is radical. When he talks about poverty, he means actual poverty, not just detachment from wealth. When, now, he talks about Christian peace, peace according to the Cross, he means actual peace, not peace-via-missiles. I don't know if he will be heard. 

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