Pope on war: other side are people with dignity, not an enemy to destroy

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Pope Francis met with Catholic military chaplains who are holding a training course on the International Law in Rome.

This is the fifth edition of the initiative, promoted by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. This is why its prefect, Card. Peter Turkson, greeted the pope on behalf of its participants.

Pope Francis recalled his speech from four years with them. He said during armed conflicts, it is necessary to flee from a very concrete temptation.

“I highlighted the need to reject the temptation of viewing the other as an enemy to destroy and not as a person, endowed in his own intrinsic dignity, created by God in His own image.”

The pope insisted each human life is sacred, even during war. He explained it is especially important to respect international law in the cases of prisoners of war or civilians.

“The ethical basis and crucial importance of these norms for safeguardig human dignity in the tragic context of war means they must be properly and rigorously respected and applied. This also applies to encounters with prisoners, regardless of the nature or seriousness of the crimes they committed.”

Finally, he remembered that 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Geneva Convention, which protects civilians and victims of war. He said the Holy See upholds international humanitarian law, asking that rules be respected and reinforced where appropriate.

Ángeles Conde

Translated: Melissa Butz

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