Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – Pope Francis attends an International Meeting for Peace with leaders of various religions and confessions at Rome’s Colosseum, and urges everyone to work toward purifying our hearts so that peace might fill our world.
The St. Egidio Community has held a two-day peace meeting in Rome which was attended by numerous faith leaders from across the globe.
The 35th International Meeting for Peace concluded on Thursday evening with a prayer for peace at the Colosseum, which was attended by Pope Francis.
Held under the theme, “Peoples as Brothers, Future Earth”, the event saw the participation of religious leaders from Christianity, Islam, Hebraism, Buddhism, Tenrikyo, Hinduism, and Sikhism.
Participants from over 40 countries met to discuss how to “start again” in the “spirit of Assisi”, which is one of friendship and dialogue.
Pope Francis wrapped up the Prayer for Peace meeting at the Colosseum which was attended by hundreds of people from various faith traditions.
Ahead of a moment of silence for the victims of all wars, the Pope offered the concluding address for the event, asking God to “demilitarize the human heart.”
He opened his address praising the many people who traveled to Rome this week to show that prayer is a “quiet source of strength which brings peace and disarms hate-filled hearts.”
Pope Francis noted how the event—whose theme is “peoples as brothers and sisters”—is taking place against the backdrop of the Colosseum, once a site of fights pitting men against one another in fights to the death for mass entertainment.
The Pope said we too can become “spectators of violence and war, of brothers killing brothers,” as if it were a game we watch from afar.
He recalled that the lives of people and young children are not playthings.
“We must not be indifferent onlookers,” he said. “On the contrary, we need to empathize with those who share our humanity, its aspirations, its struggles and its frailties.”
Everything that happens to our brothers and sisters, he added, affects us, though he added that recognizing this truth takes great courage.
War a failure of politics and humanity
The Pope said war “plays games with human lives” and is a failure of “politics and humanity.”