Peace is not made with weapons – Fr Luigi Maccalli SMA

While in captivity I understood that peace is not made with weapons

“I am very saddened by what I hear and see in the news. Now the conflict between Israel and Hamas has overshadowed that between Russia and Ukraine, while Sudan hasn’t been mentioned for a long time, but this conflict has been going on for 6 months now and then… I can’t help but remember the situation in the Sahel, where I was as a missionary for 11 years and spent 2 years as a hostage”, stated Fr Pierluigi Maccalli SMA in an interview with Fides

Fr Maccalli shared his considerations and feelings regarding the current geopolitical context, characterized by endless wars. “I also think that many people have not noticed what is happening these days between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in the Karabakh region. There are so many images and news of wars and violence that I hear and that sadden me deeply”, he said. “I take sides with all victims of this senseless inhumanity. I am also saddened by so much ‘space’ given in the media to the ‘armed’ words of those involved. As long as the words are not disarmed, it is unthinkable to disarm hands that are only ready to shoot and drop bombs”, continues Father Maccalli. Faced with this bleak situation, says the missionary, “only Pope Francis is an exception. He never tires of repeating that war is a defeat for everyone. He does not repeat the word peace in vain, but offers himself as a mediator and insists that creative alternatives for peace are tried out.

In this World Mission Month, I would like to continue with my testimony that I will give on October 21st in Rome during the Missionary Vigil in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. My kidnapping and hostage-taking in the Sahel, where I was in the hands of jihadists from the al-Qaeda-affiliated group GSIM for over two years, showed me that peace is not made with weapons.

I have forgiven those who took away my freedom, chained me and despised me as an enemy.” Fr Maccalli recalls that he was freed three years ago at the beginning of October (see Fides, 9/10/2020): “Today I bear witness that peace comes through the narrow door of forgiveness. I have forgiven and I am at peace.” (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 18/10/2023)

With thanks to FIDES for this interview.

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