These words are a prayer written in March 2022 by Domenico Battaglia, Archbishop of Naples, when the war between Russia and Ukraine was raging. In an audience on Wednesday 16 March 2022, Pope Francis called for the guns to be silenced, using the words of this prayer.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners
Lord Jesus, born under the bombs of Kiev, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, who died in his mother’s arms in a Kharkiv bunker, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, who was sent to the front at the age of twenty, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, who still sees armed hands in the shadow of your cross, have mercy on us!
Forgive us, O Lord,
If, not content with the nails with which we pierce your hand, we continue to drink the blood of the dead torn by weapons.
Forgive us, Lord, if these hands, which you created to protect, have become instruments of death.
Forgive us, Lord, if we continue to kill our brother, if we continue like Cain to take stones from our field to kill Abel.
Forgive us, Lord, if we continue to justify cruelty with our weariness, if with our pain we legitimise the cruelty of our actions.
Forgive us, Lord, for the war.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, we beseech you, Stop the hand of Cain!
Enlighten our conscience, for it is not our will that is done,
do not abandon us to our own actions!
stop us, Lord, stop us!
And when you have stayed the hand of Cain, take care of him too. He is our brother.
o Lord, stop the violence!
Stop us, Lord”
Domenico Battaglia, Archbishop of Naples