Faith Matters

'Make peace through your actions and attitudes'

Pope Francis kisses a baby in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday June 6 2015. Pope Francis urged Bosnia's Muslims, Orthodox and Catholics to put the "deep wounds" of their past behind them and work together for a peaceful future

POPE Francis has urged Bosnia's Muslims, Orthodox Christians and Catholics to put the "barbarity" of war behind them and work together for a peaceful future.

He made the one-day visit to Sarajevo on Saturday to encourage reconciliation following the devastating three-way war of the 1990s.

Francis received a joyous welcome from thousands of cheering Bosnians who lined his motorcade route through the mostly Muslim city of 300,000.

Another 65,000 people, most of them Catholics, packed the same Sarajevo stadium where Pope John Paul II presided over an emotional post-war Mass of reconciliation in 1997.

"War - never again," Francis said in his homily, denouncing those who incite war to sell weapons or to deliberately foment tensions among peoples of different cultures.

He called on Bosnians to make peace every day - not just preach it - through their "actions, attitudes and acts of kindness, of fraternity, of dialogue, of mercy".

Nearly every step of Francis's day was designed to show off inter-faith and inter-ethnic harmony in a city once known as 'Europe's Jerusalem' for the peaceful coexistence of Christians, Muslims and Jews.

The city, though, became synonymous with religious enmity during the 1992-95 conflict that left 100,000 dead and displaced half the population.

In a speech to Bosnia's three-member presidency, Francis called for Bosnians to oppose the "barbarity" of those who want to continue sowing division "as a pretext for further unspeakable violence".

Rather, he urged Bosnians to continue working for respectful coexistence through patient, trustful dialogue.

"This will allow different voices to unite in creating a melody of sublime nobility and beauty, instead of the fanatical cries of hatred," he said.

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