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No to war and terrorism

· Message of Justice and Peace for the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima ·

“Never again one against the other, never, never again! ... Never again war!”. Paul VI’s call for peace before the General Assembly of the United Nations on 4 October 1965 echoed in the Cathedral of Hiroshima on Saturday, 6 August, at the end of the Mass celebrated for the 71st anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb.

The words of Pope Montini — who died 38 years ago on 6 August — were at the heart of the message with which the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace wished to emphasize the importance of the commemorative ceremonies, joining in the “prayer of solidarity and hope” raised by the Church of Japan.

On behalf of the President, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, and all the members of Justice and Peace, the message was read by Dicastery official, Fr Michael Czerny, SJ, who travelled to Japan in order to join in a series of initiatives in memory of the tragic bombardment of 1945, which claimed an estimated 140,000 lives. In particular, Fr Czerny attended a two-day conference dedicated to disarmament and safety, sponsored in Tokyo by Religions for Peace — the world conference established in 1970 in order to foster the contribution of various religions to the peace building process — and by the United Nations University. He also took part in the interreligious meeting hosted by the Tendai Buddhist Community and in the programme of celebrations organized by the Diocese of Hiroshima, which concluded with the Mass on 6 August in the Cathedral.

The message of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace underscored the coinciding anniversary of the Transfiguration of the Lord, which “reveals the glory of Christ and demands a response of listening to Jesus Christ and of following him”. The text quoted the words of Pope Francis, emphasizing that the Lord’s “full adherence to the will of the Father makes his humanity transparent to the glory of God, who is Love” and mercy.

In this perspective the anniversary of the nuclear catastrophe offers “a unique and special occasion for our prayerful commemoration”. The message, read by Fr Czerny, encourages prayer and action “in solidarity with the victims of the atom bombs and of all wars and all terrorism around the world”, and highlights in particular the context of the Jubilee Year of Mercy inducted by Pope Francis. “This Jubilee”, it explains, “ gives each and every one of us the opportunity to revisit the sinful and sorrowful moments of our lives, not in order to be crushed and to despair, but in order to allow God’s loving grace to enter” the heart of each person “with forgiveness and healing”.

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