Pope Francis has called on the Japanese people to commit themselves to protecting all life in a video message ahead of his visit to Japan this week.
Pointing to the theme of his Nov. 23-26 visit: “Protect All Life,” the pope said such protection should be shown through a commitment to ending all armed conflict and ridding the world of nuclear weapons.
The “strong instinct, which resonates in our hearts, to defend the value and dignity of every human person acquires particular importance in the face of the threats to peaceful coexistence that the world faces today, especially in armed conflicts,” he said in the message released on Nov. 18.
Calling the use of nuclear weapons “immoral,” he said Japan was “well aware of the suffering caused by war. Together with you, I pray that the destructive power of nuclear weapons will never be unleashed again in human history.”
The pope also said Japan knows the value of promoting dialogue and fraternity among religious traditions, which can help “overcome division, promote respect for human dignity, and advance the integral development of all peoples.”
He said peace “does not retreat: it defends itself with every ounce of strength.”
The visit, he said, will also provide him with an opportunity to appreciate Japan’s natural beauty, and express a “shared desire to promote and strengthen the protection of all life, which includes the earth, our common home.”