ROME — People must help one another and counteract the temptation of evil that deceives them into thinking conflict can be resolved by violence and war, Pope Francis told a delegation from B’nai B’rith International.
“It is good, then, that we should help one another, because in each one of us, in every religious tradition and in every human society, there is always a risk that we can hold grudges and foster disputes against others, and at times do so in the name of absolute and even sacred principles,” he said.
Pope Francis met representatives of the Jewish service organization, which promotes human rights, May 30 at the Vatican.
The pope recognized the group’s long history of being “tirelessly committed to humanitarian causes” and encouraged all efforts aimed at helping people in need, who “have a right to receive help and solidarity from the larger community; more than anything else, they have a right to hope.”
“If the duty to care for others is incumbent upon every member of our human family, it applies even more to those of us who are Jews and Christians,” the pope said. God wants humanity to “break the cycle of violence, the spiral of hatred, and to start protecting one another.”
World peace, he said, is threatened by “material, educational and spiritual poverty, which then becomes fertile terrain for fueling hatred, anger, frustration and radicalism,” and by “forms of particularism and nationalism, driven by selfish interests and unbridled greed.”
“This increases the risk, in the end, of even greater contempt for human dignity and rights,” he said. However, the “antidote to this escalation of evil is remembrance: remembrance of the past, remembrance of its wars, remembrance of the Shoah and of countless other atrocities.”
There is always a “deceptive temptation of violence; this is the evil crouching at the door of the heart. This is the illusion that disputes can be resolved by violence and war,” he said.
“Yet violence always generates more violence, weapons only produce death, and war is never the solution but a problem, a failure,” he said.
Helping those in need is the best way to promote greater human fraternity, Pope Francis said.