Pope Francis did not mince words when he told a group of children gathered at the Vatican that some people will never want peace because they profit off of war.
"Some powerful people earn their living off making weapons," the pope said, in a translation provided by Rome Reports. "For this reason, many people do not want peace."
He also called the weapons business an "industry of death," according to Catholic Herald.
The pontiff spoke in front of roughly 7,000 children at the Vatican on Monday, in a visit sponsored by the Fabbrica della pace (“Peace Factory”), a non-governmental organization that operates educational programming in primary schools with the purpose of promoting cross-cultural understanding.
Pope Francis ended the session by imploring those present to make a small change in attitude or behavior, Vatican Radio reports.
“Whenever we do something together, something good, something beautiful, everyone changes," he said. "All of us change in some way, and this does us good."
The pope's strong words against the weapons industry echo the pontiff's earlier anti-war statements. On December 7, 2014 Pope Francis sent a letter to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, stating, "Nuclear weapons are a global problem, affecting all nations, and impacting future generations and the planet that is our home."
"Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations," he continued. "To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty."
TIME Magazine reports that many expect the pope to address the topic of nuclear weapons in his United Nations speech in September, as the event coincides with the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s famous U.N. speech calling for “never again war, never again war.”
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