Violence, said Pope Francis, leads to forced migrations and enormous suffering , devastation of the environment, terrorism and organized crime. It leads to retaliation and a deadly cycle that end up benefiting only a few warlords. But, Pope Francis said, Christ's message offers a radically positive approach. He himself walked the path of nonviolence and became an instrument of reconciliation.
And citing historical figures like Mother Teresa, Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King as models of nonviolent peacemakers, the Pope said nonviolence is more powerful than violence and it has produced impressive results.
He recalled the contribution of Christian communities in the fall of Communist regimes pointing out that peaceful political transitions were made using only the weapons of truth and justice. And he remarked that such efforts are not the legacy of the Catholic Church alone but are typical of many religious traditions. "I emphatically reaffirm, he said , that no religion is terrorist (...); and that the name of God cannot be used to justify violence". Emphasizing also the domestic roots of a politics of nonviolence Pope Francis said that while he pleads for disarmament and the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons, with equal urgency he pleads for an end to domestic violence and to the abuse of women and children.
My invitation to political, religious and economic leaders the Pope said, is to take up the challenge of building up society, communities and businesses by acting as peacemakers, to choose solidarity as a way of making history. In a world in which everything is connected, he said, active nonviolence is a way of showing that unity is more powerful and more fruitful than conflict, and that differences can be faced constructively and non-violently preserving "what is valid and useful on both sides". "All of us want peace, Francis concluded: "in 2017, may we dedicate ourselves prayerfully and actively to banishing violence from our hearts, words and deeds: (...) Everyone can be an artisan of peace". [www.comboni.org]