Vatican City, Mar 22, 2022 / 04:20 am (CNA).
Pope Francis on Monday said that spending money on weapons is an outrage that sullies humanity and takes resources away from the things people need to live.
“Certain choices are not neutral: to allocate a large part of spending to weapons means taking it away from something else, which means continuing to take it away from those who lack the necessities. And this is an outrage: spending on weapons,” the pope told an Italian volunteer organization on March 21.
“This is serious. We need to create the awareness that continuing to spend on weapons sullies the soul, sullies the heart, sullies humanity.”
Speaking in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall, he asked: “Why, then, wage war on each other over conflicts that we should resolve by talking to each other as fellow people?”
“Why not rather join our forces and resources to fight together the real battles of civilization: the fight against hunger and thirst; the fight against disease and epidemics; the fight against poverty and slavery of today. Why?”
Pope Francis noted that arms are used in wars not only in Ukraine, but also in places in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
“What is the use of committing ourselves all together, solemnly, at an international level, in campaigns against poverty, against hunger, against the degradation of the planet, if we then fall back into the old vice of war, into the old strategy of the power of armaments, which takes everything and everyone backwards?” he said.
“A war always takes you backwards, always. We go backwards. We will have to start over again.”
Francis was addressing the group Ho Avuto Sete, which is Italian for “I was thirsty,” taken from Matthew 25:35, when Jesus says: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me.” The organization helps provide access to clean drinking water to those who do not have it.
On Monday, Pope Francis also sent a message to the 9th World Water Forum, which is meeting in Dakar, Senegal, this week to discuss water access and its contribution to peace-building and development.
“Our world thirsts for peace, for this indivisible good which requires the constant effort and contribution of everyone and which is based in particular on the fulfillment of the essential and vital needs of each human person,” the pope said in the March 21 message signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
“Water security is today threatened by various factors, including pollution, conflict, climate change and the misuse of natural resources,” he said.
“Yet water is a valuable asset for peace. As a result, it cannot be considered simply as a private good, generating commercial profit and subject to the laws of the market.”
“It should also be emphasized that ‘addressing issues related to water scarcity and improving water management, especially by communities, can help create greater social cohesion and solidarity,’ to initiate processes, to build relationships.”
“In fact, water is a gift to us from God and a common heritage whose universal destination must be ensured for each generation,” he said.