Pope, at US military cemetery, makes emotional anti-war address

The cemetery Mass was attended by US Ambassador to Italy Lewis Eisenberg and the acting US ambassador to the Vatican, Louis Bono.

November 2, 2017 19:32
2 minute read.
Pope Francis celebrates a Mass at the US World War II cemetery.

Pope Francis celebrates a Mass at the US World War II cemetery.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


ROME, November 2 - Pope Francis made one of his most emotional anti-war addresses on Thursday, saying during a visit to a US military cemetery that the world seemed to be headed into war perhaps bigger than any before.

Francis said a Mass for several thousand people at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in the town of Nettuno, south of the Italian capital, on the day Roman Catholics commemorate their dead.

The burial ground is the final resting place for 7,860 American soldiers who died in the liberation of southern Italy and Rome in 1943 and 1944.

He walked slowly and alone amid the rows of low white headstones in the shape of crosses and Stars of David, gently resting a white rose on about a dozen and stopping to pray silently before saying the Mass.

"Please Lord, stop. No more wars. No more of these useless massacres," he said, speaking in hushed tones in an improvised homily.

Francis said that remembering the many young people who died in World War Two was even more important "today that the world once more is at war and is preparing to go even more forcefully into war."

He did not elaborate but appeared to be referring to the possibility of nuclear war.

Later, he and Rome's chief rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni, each read a prayer. After walking past the tombs in the still dark caves, the pope wrote in the visitors' book: "This is the fruit of war: hate, death, vendetta. Forgive us Lord".

As tensions between the United States and North Korea have increased in recent months, Francis has warned that a nuclear conflict would destroy a good part of humanity.

Last April, he said a third country should try to mediate the dispute between Pyongyang and Washington to cool a situation that had become "too hot".

US President Donald Trump, who has said North Korea "will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen" if it threatened the United States, will visit South Korea as part of a trip to Asia that starts on Friday.

While Trump is in Asia, the pope will be hosting an international seminar at the Vatican that will urge the banning of nuclear weapons.

The cemetery Mass was attended by US Ambassador to Italy Lewis Eisenberg and the acting US ambassador to the Vatican, Louis Bono.

"If today is a day of hope, it is also a day of tears," the pope said. "Humanity must not forget" the tears of mothers and wives who lost husbands and sons in past wars.

"Humanity has not learned the lesson and seems that it does not want to learn it," he said, asking for prayers for the victims of today's conflicts, especially children.

On his way back to the Vatican, Francis stopped to pray at the Ardeatine Caves, where in March 1944 occupying Nazis killed 335 Italian men and boys as a reprisal for the killing of 33 German policemen by partisans.

They were all shot in the back of the neck. The Germans blew up the caves in a vain attempt to try to hide the massacre. Seventy-five of the victims were Jews.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters building in Fort Meade, Maryland
May 26, 2019
NSA 'EternalBlue' tool facilitates cyberattacks worldwide including U.S.