Last week, a conversation with Pope Francis was published, in which he related to the Russia-Ukraine war as the start of World War III. In a conversation with the editors of European Jesuit publications, and which was first published by the Italian Jesuit publication La Civiltà Cattolica, the Pope said, “The world is at war. For me, today, World War III has been declared.” Subsequently, he lamented, “What is happening to humanity that we have had three world wars in a century?” I do not believe that the Russia-Ukraine conflict is a third world war or that it should devolve into one. However, the fact that there is such a danger, or that there is war at all, shows that we have not drawn the right conclusions, which puts us in harm’s way again.
It is clear to everyone that no one has anything to gain if the war in Ukraine escalates into a global conflict. That said, the war is yet another indication that we still do not know how to govern our desire for dominance and control.
We have come to a point where our ego does not settle for controlling others. Nowadays, people are willing to destroy others for simply behaving or even thinking differently from them.
If we want to prevent wars, we need to help all the nations realize that war does not bring any benefits, that we do not want it and do not need it. This is a process that must involve everyone, since each country must have its neighbors going through the same process, or belligerent countries will exploit other countries’ efforts to end violence.
If countries do not adopt this approach, they will continue to compete against each other, exploit each other and deplete the earth of resources. We are already seeing the consequences of this attitude on our planet, but they will grow far worse in the very near future. Hunger, extreme heat, extreme cold, and countless other problems will overwhelm humanity and force nations to stop abusing others and focus on their own survival.
To prevent this scenario from developing further than it already has, humanity needs to understand that we must learn to work together or nature will destroy us. Currently, many nations are still dreaming of conquests and subjugations of other nations. We must gradually make these nations understand that doing so will only harm them, and harm everyone else, as well. Unless we help everyone realize that we are dependent on each other for better or worse, and we must act accordingly, we will all be in big trouble.
Pope Francis arrives in a wheelchair to meet children with disabilities and Ukrainian children who fled their country due to Russia’s invasion, at the Vatican, June 4, 2022. REUTERS/Remo Casilli/