EUROPE/ITALY - The missionary Maccalli: While in captivity I understood that peace is not made with weapons

Wednesday, 18 October 2023 peace   wars   forgiveness   mission   geopolitics   pope francis  

Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "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", said the Italian missionary Pier Luigi Maccalli to Fides, who shares 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", said the priest of the Society of African Missions. "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 The story of 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." The missionary 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)