1445 H. / 2024 A.D.
Christians and Muslims:
Extinguish the Fire of War and Light the Candle of Peace
Vatican City
Dear Muslim brothers and sisters,
Once again we greet you on the occasion of the month of Ramadan with a
message of closeness and friendship, aware of the importance of this month for your
spiritual journey and for your family and social life, which also embraces your
Christian friends and neighbours.
We are pleased to know that our yearly Message to you for Ramadan is an
important means of strengthening and building good relations between Christians and
Muslims, thanks to its diffusion through traditional and modern media, particularly
social media. For this reason, it would be beneficial to make this Message better
known among both communities.
We would have liked to share with you some considerations on a different
theme from the one we have chosen to address. Yet the growing number of conflicts
in these days, ranging from military combat to armed clashes of varying intensity
involving states, criminal organizations, armed gangs and civilians, has become truly
alarming. Pope Francis recently observed that this increase in hostilities is in fact
transforming “a third world war fought piecemeal” into “a genuine global conflict”.
The causes of these conflicts are many, some long-standing, others more
recent. Together with the perennial human desire for domination, geo-political
ambitions and economic interests, a major cause is surely the continuing production
and commerce in arms. Even as part of our human family suffers grievously from the
devastating effects of the use of these arms in warfare, others cynically rejoice in the
great economic profit deriving from this immoral commerce. Pope Francis has
described this as dipping a morsel of bread in the blood of our brother.
At the same time, we can be thankful that we also possess immense human and
religious resources for advancing peace. The desire for peace and security is
profoundly rooted in the soul of every person of good will, since no one can fail to
see the tragic effects of war in the loss of human lives, the toll of serious injury and
the throngs of orphans and widows. The destruction of infrastructure and property
makes life hopelessly difficult, if not impossible. Sometimes hundreds of thousands
of people are displaced in their own country or forced to flee to other countries as
refugees. Consequently, the condemnation and rejection of war should be
unambiguous: every war is fratricide, useless, senseless, and dark. In war, everyone
loses. Once again, in the words of Pope Francis: “No war is holy, only peace is holy”.
All religions, each in their own way, consider human life sacred and thus
worthy of respect and protection. The states that permit and practise capital
punishment are, fortunately, becoming fewer each year. A reawakened sense of the
respect for this fundamental dignity of the gift of life will contribute to the conviction
that war must be rejected and peace cherished.
Albeit with their differences, religions acknowledge the existence and the
important role of conscience. Forming consciences to respect the absolute value of
the life of each person and his or her right to physical integrity, security and a
dignified life will likewise contribute to the condemnation and rejection of war, any
war and all wars.
We look to the Almighty as God of peace, the source of peace, who in a special
way loves all those who devote their lives to the service of peace. Like so many
things, peace is a divine gift but at the same time the fruit of human efforts, especially
in preparing the conditions necessary for its establishment and preservation.
As believers, we are also witnesses to hope, as we recalled in our 2021
Message for Ramadan: “Christians and Muslims: Witnesses of Hope”. Hope can be
symbolized by a candle, whose light radiates security and joy, whereas fire,
uncontrolled, can lead to the destruction of fauna and flora, infrastructure and the loss
of human lives.
Dear Muslim brothers and sisters, let us join in extinguishing the fires of
hatred, violence and war, and instead light the gentle candle of peace, drawing upon
resources for peace that are present in our rich human and religious traditions.
May your fasting and other pious practices during Ramadan and the celebration
of ‘Id al-Fitr that concludes it, bring you abundant fruits of peace, hope and joy.

From the Vatican, 11 March 2024
Miguel Ángel Cardinal Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ
Msgr. Indunil Kodithuwakku Janakaratne Kankanamalage
00120 Vatican City
Tel.: +39.06.6988 4321
Fax: +39.06.6988 4494
E-mail: dialogo@interrel.va