Pope Francis recently addressed some 7,000 children, parents and teachers at the Vatican for an Italian initiative called The Peace Factory, which seeks to promote peace, tolerance and inclusion among the multi-ethnic, socially diverse and differently-abled children attending Italian elementary schools.
When an Egyptian child living in the suburbs of Rome asked the Pope, “Why don’t powerful people help schools?” the Pope answered, “We can ask a bigger question. “Why don’t so many powerful people want peace?”
“Because they live off war, the arms industry is a serious matter! The powerful earn a living by producing and selling arms to countries: it is the industry of death, they make money from it. You know greed is really bad for us, our desire to have more, more money: and when we see that everything revolves around money, that the economic system revolves around money and not around people, around men and women, a great deal is sacrificed and people go to war to defend money. This is why so many people do not want peace: you profit more from war and money but you lose lives, culture, education, you lose so many things. An elderly priest I met some years ago, used to say: the devil enters through people’s wallets, through greed and this is why they do not want peace,” 78-year-old Pontiff said.
Then a wheelchair-bound 9-year-old boy asked the Pope to to define peace. “Peace means above all, no more wars but it also means joy, friendship among all, taking steps toward justice every day, taking steps to ensure there are no starving and sick who do not have the means to obtain health assistance. Doing all this is peace. Peace takes effort, it isn’t about being relaxed. We need to work in order to ensure that everyone has a solution to the problems and needs of their land, their country, their family and their society: this is how you make home-made peace. Peace is not an industrial product, peace is a home-made product, it is created day by day with our work, our life, our love, our closeness, our care. Peace is built every day. Where there is no justice, there is no peace,” Francis said.