On Sunday, before praying the Angelus in Piazza Calvi of Lorenzago di Cadore where he is spending a brief vacation period, the Holy Father addressed the thousands present there.
Benedict XVI said that in these days of rest he felt "even more intensely" the impact of the news that he received on "the bloody confrontations and episodes of violence happening in many parts of the world. This brings me once more to reflect on the drama of human freedom in the world."
The earth, he said, is "a garden" that God entrusted humans with to "care for and cultivate" and that "if men and women live in peace with God and among themselves then the world will truly be a 'paradise'."
"Unfortunately, sin has ruined the divine plan, engendering division and causing death to enter into the world. In this way, persons give into the temptations of Evil and make war. The consequence is that areas of 'hell' have been opened in this stupendous 'garden' of the world."
While emphasizing that war is a "calamity", the Pope recalled that on 1 August 1917 – 90 years ago – Pope Benedict XV called for an end to the First World War and "had the courage to assert that that conflict was 'a pointless carnage'. This expression has been recorded in history. Those words also have a greater, prophetic, meaning and can be applied to many other conflicts that have ripped apart innumerable human lives."
The Holy Father recalled how his predecessor also spoke of "the paths to building a just and lasting peace: the moral force of law, controlled disarmament, the arbitration of controversies, the freedom of the seas, the mutual condemnation of the costs of war, the restitution of occupied territories, and just negotiation in the resolution of disputes."
"The Holy See's proposal was oriented toward the future of Europe and the world according to a plan of Christian inspiration that, however, could be shared by all as it was rooted in human rights. This is the same approach that the servants of God Paul VI and John Paul II followed in their memorable addresses to the assembly of the United Nations, repeating in the Church's name: "Never again war!"
"From this peaceful place in which the horrors of 'pointless carnage' are felt even more forcefully as unacceptable, I renew the call to more tenaciously adhere to the law, to vehemently refuse the arms race and the temptation to face new situations with old systems."