Pope Francis gave a long speech on the 100th anniversary of the First World War in St. Peter’s Square, during the daily Angelus prayer. He also spoke about the World Day of the Poor and peace.
For the Great War, he chose the words spoken by Pope Benedict XV who was the pope of that time. Pope Benedict XV had described the shocking war as ‘useless slaughter’. He said that the First World War should be marked as a warning to reject the culture of warfare. Pope Benedict XV asked everyone to look for all legitimate solutions to bring a final end to such conflicts that left people bleeding to death across the world.
Pope Benedict XV became the Pope just a month after the start of the World War 1 in 1914. Unfortunately, he died just 8 years later at 67. Pope Benedict XV is known for writing 3 apostolic exhortations along with 5 encyclicals with peace as the subject.
World War 1 resulted in the deaths of 17 million individuals, including soldiers as well as civilians. On the 11th of November, 1918, the armistice was signed by the Allies and Germany in France, effectively ending the First World War.
A hundred years later, Pope Francis noted the fact that Armistice Day also falls on the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours. Pope Francis also noted that Saint Martin was the saint and soldier who had cut off half of his cloak for sharing with a poor man as a gesture of humanitarian solidarity. This is the kind of action that represents a peaceful solution said the Pope.