| 27 May 2024, Monday |

Pope, at military cemetery, tells arms manufacturers: ‘Stop!’

On Tuesday, Pope Francis asked gun manufacturers to “stop” since conflict “swallows up the children of the motherland,” during a visit to a military cemetery on the day Catholics honor their dead.

On All Souls Day, Francis celebrated Mass at the French military cemetery in Rome, which is home to the graves of over 1,900 French and Moroccan troops lost during WWII.

Francis, who pays a visit to a cemetery every year on Remembrance Day, laid white roses and paused to pray at several of the monuments, mentioning one that read “Unknown, Died for France, 1944.”

“Not even a name. But in the heart of God there are all our names. This is the tragedy of war,” he said in an improvised sermon.

“But … do we fight enough so that there are no wars, so that there are no economies of countries that are strengthened by the weapons industry?” he said.

“These tombs are a message of peace. Stop brothers and sisters, stop. Stop, arms manufacturers, stop!” he said, calling those buried at the cemetery among the many “victims of war, which swallows up the children of the homeland”.

Francis has made many calls for disarmament and has said that nuclear weapons should be banned because even their possession for deterrent reasons is “perverse” and indefensible.

When the location of the Mass was announced last month, an Italian group protested, saying the choice was an offence to victims of Moroccan soldiers, known as Goumiers, who committed many random murders and raped many Italian women in the countryside between Naples and Rome as allied forces moved up the Italian peninsula.

One such incident was immortalized in the 1960 neo-realist film by Vittorio De Sica “Two Women,” starring Sophia Loren, which told the story of a woman and her daughter who were both raped by Moroccan soldiers south of Rome.

  • Reuters