Currents News Staff
Pope Francis walked alone among the tombs of French soldiers killed during World War II, leaving white roses and stopping for moments of silent prayer.
Nearly 2,000 soldiers, not all of them Catholic, are buried in this little known cemetery in Rome. Some were Moroccan soldiers who joined the French army. They were known as “goumiers.” It was a ceremony marked by a sense of deep contemplation.
Pope Francis noted that some of the tombstones lacked names and had only the words, “died for france.”
“Not even the name is there,” Pope Francis said. “In God’s heart are all of our names. But this is the tragedy of war.”
The “goumiers” were known for being especially violent, but Pope Francis said that we should look, not at the soldiers, but at those who promote war.
“Today’s homily should be about looking at the tombs “died for France,” Pope Francis said.”Some have a name. A few do not. But these tombs are a message for peace. Stop, brothers and sisters. Stop. Stop, arms manufacturers. Stop.”
Pope Francis on various occasions has suggested contemplating the tombs of soldiers killed during the world wars.
In 2014, he visited Redipuglia, a huge cemetery where more than 100,000 Italian soldiers killed during World War I are buried. In 2017, he visited a cemetery for American troops killed in Italy in 1943.