ROME – Pope Francis has called for greater restrictions on arms around the world, covering the production, marketing and possession of heavy and light weapons.
“How many cases have we seen of children dying for handling weapons in their homes, how many massacres have been perpetrated because of their easy access in certain countries?” asks the pontiff rhetorically in a new book, an excerpt from which was published in Italian media on Sunday.
“Legal or illegal, on a large scale or in supermarkets, the arms trade is a serious problem throughout the world,” the pope says in the book, titled I ask you in the name of God: Ten prayers for a future of hope.
“It would be good for these debates to have more visibility and for an international consensus to be sought in order to achieve, at the global level, restrictions on the production, marketing and possession of these instruments of death”, he says. .
In his in-depth critique of the arms trade, Francis accuses arms manufacturers of causing conflict as he did in the case of the Russian-Ukrainian war.
“Global arms spending is one of the most serious moral scandals of our time,” he said. “It also shows how much of a contradiction there is between talking about peace and, at the same time, promoting or allowing the arms trade.”
“It is all the more immoral that certain so-called developed countries sometimes bar their doors to people fleeing the wars they themselves have fomented by selling arms,” he insists. “It’s also happening here in Europe and it’s a betrayal of the spirit of the founding fathers.”
“The arms race is proof of the oblivion that can invade us,” he says. “Or, even worse, insensitivity.”
The pope goes on to note that in 2021, “in the midst of a pandemic,” global military spending topped $2 trillion for the first time, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). .
“For 100 dollars spent in the world, 2.2 are intended for armaments”, laments Francis.