· On the centenary of the Armenian martyrdom considered “the first genocide of the twentieth century”, the Pope recalls that today too we are experiencing bloody ·
“Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!”. Pope Francis gave this warning on Sunday morning, 12 April, in the Vatican Basilica during the Mass celebrating the centenary of the martyrdom of the Armenians — widely considered “the first genocide of the twentieth century”, citing a joint statement in 2001 by John Paul II and Karekin II — and proclaiming St Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Church. In recalling the “immense and senseless slaughter” of the Armenian people in 1915, the Pope once again denounced “general and collective indifference” which today we are experiencing a “sort of genocide” aimed at “our defenceless brothers and sisters”, who, he said, “on account of their faith in Christ or their ethnic origin, are publicly and ruthlessly put to death – decapitated, crucified, burned alive – or forced to leave their homeland”.
“It seems that humanity”, he continued with sorrow, “is incapable of putting a halt to the shedding of innocent blood” and refuses “to learn from its mistakes caused by the law of terror, so that today too there are those who attempt to eliminate others with the help of a few and with the complicit silence of others who simply stand by”. Thus the Pontiff underlined that evil “never comes from God” and cruelty “can find absolutely no justification in his Holy Name”. However, he assured, during his homily at Mass, it is divine mercy that fills “this abyss”.
In his message consigned to the patriarchs and the President of the Republic of Armenia at the end of the Mass, the Pope called for a “path of reconciliation” among peoples, especially between Armenians and Turks. He appealed to “all who are Heads of State and of International Organizations” calling them “to oppose such crimes with a firm sense of duty, without ceding to ambiguity or compromise”.
In a sign of peace the Holy Father also addressed a greeting to the Armenian community the next day at the Regina Caeli recited at the conclusion of the liturgical rite which was celebrated on the Sunday on which the Eastern Churches celebrate Easter.
St. Peter’s Square
Feb. 24, 2018
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