“Walls fall when they are ‘besieged’ with prayer and not with weapons, with longings for peace and not conquest, when one dreams of a good future for all”, the Pope has affirmed.

Driving the news

The Vatican published Sunday a message Francis sent to participants in the 33rd ‘Prayer for Peace’ event in Madrid, organised by the Church in the Spanish capital and by the Sant’Egidio Community.

In his message, the Pope reflected on the theme of this year’s event, ‘Peace with no borders’.

He lamented the fact that in the first two decades of the 21st century “we have witnessed, with great sadness, the waste of that gift of God that is peace, squandered with new wars and with the construction of new walls and barriers”.


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The big picture

Francis explained that “peace must increase endlessly from generation to generation, through dialogue, encounter and negotiation”.

“If we seek the good of peoples and the world, it is foolish to close spaces, separate peoples, or even more so, to confront one another, to deny hospitality to those who need it”, the Pope decried.

“In this way, the world is ‘broken’ with the same violence with which the environment is ruined and our common home is damaged”, he deplored.

“Our common home can’t endure walls that separate and set off against each other those who live there. Instead, it needs open doors that help to communicate, to reach out, to cooperate, to live together in peace, respecting diversity and reinforcing the bonds of responsibility”, the Pope affirmed, adding:

“Peace is like a house with many rooms in which we are all called to live. Peace has no borders. Always, without exception”.

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Go deeper

Sending a special greeting to the representatives of the different Churches and religions gathered in Madrid, the Pope proposed as a model for all the biblical figure of Abraham, “a model man of faith and hope”.

“The prayer for peace, at this time marked by so many conflicts and so much violence, unites us all even closer, beyond differences, in the common commitment to a more fraternal world”, Francis insisted.

“We know well that fraternity among believers, in addition to being a barrier to enmity and wars, is a ferment of fraternity among peoples”, the Pope said.

As an example of this fraternity, Francis pointed to the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together that he signed with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Egypt, Ahmed el-Tayeb, in Abu Dhabi in February.

The signing of that Document was “an important step on the road to world peace”, the Pope said.

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What’s next

“We are living a difficult time for the world. We must all unite – I would say with one heart and one voice – to cry that peace has no borders”, Francis continued in his message.

“A cry that arises from our heart. It is from there, in effect – from our hearts – that we must eradicate the borders that divide and confront; and it is in our hearts where feelings of peace and fraternity must be sown”, the Pope concluded.

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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.