Rome: There is no “God of war” and religion must not be used to justify violence, Pope Francis said on Tuesday, repeating recent calls for world peace.
“The God of war doesn’t exist,” Francis said during Mass at the Vatican’s Santa Marta hotel where he lives.
“Those who wage war are evil, they are the Devil, who wants to kill everyone.”
All religions must be united in the need for peace, Francis said.
“We can’t close our ears to the cries of our brothers and sisters who are suffering war,” he stated, calling war a “disgrace”.
“War affects everyone because it begins in our hearts,” Francis said.
“The world is thirsty for peace,” Francis told 500 leaders from nine religions and 12,000 pilgrims, as well as five Nobel peace laureates at the Day of Prayer for Peace in the Umbrian town of Assisi later on Tuesday.
Francis on Sunday issued a call for peace in the world and prayers to help bring this about.
“Today, more than ever, we need peace in this war which is everywhere in the world. Let us Pray for peace!” Francis said in remarks after his weekly Angelus prayer in St Peter’s Square.
Envoys to the Vatican this week urged nations to stop the violence afflicting many parts of the world and called for concrete efforts to bring peace.
“The international community and those who govern should strive to stem the violence more effectively and to peacefully resolve the conflicts around the world,” the envoys said in a statement on Monday.