Many Catholics want to declare Pope John Paul II a saint. Perhaps they will then start paying attention to thoughts of his like the following:
"On my knees I beg you to turn away from the paths of violence and return to the ways of peace. You may claim to seek justice. I too believe in justice and seek justice. But violence only delays the day of justice. Violence destroys the work of justice." Addressing "all men and women engaged in violence," Drogheda, Ireland, Sept. 29, 1979.
"When war, as in these days in Iraq, threatens the fate of humanity, it is ever more urgent to proclaim, with a strong and decisive voice, that only peace is the road to follow to construct a more just and united society. Violence and arms can never resolve the problems of men." Address to television broadcaster Telepace in first public remarks following start of Iraq war, March 22, 2003.
Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have repeatedly criticized warfare.
Pope John Paul II said, in an often-cited address to an audience at St. Dorothy's Church in Rome in February, 1991: "We are not pacifists; we do not want peace at any price." (Quoted by Portier, Communio 23 (1996) )
John Paul II also said:
In his 1991 encyclical letter Centesimus Annus:
"I myself, on the occasion of the recent tragic war in the Persian Gulf, repeated the cry: 'Never again war!' No, never again war, which destroys the lives of innocent people, teaches how to kill, throws into upheaval even the lives of those who do the killing and leaves behind a trail of resentment and hatred, thus making it all the more difficult to find a just solution of the very problems which provoked the war." (section 52)
On December 20, 1998: "War has never been and never will be an appropriate way to solve problems between nations!" (Quoted from "Peacemaking and the Use of Force: Behind the Pope's Stringent Just-War Teaching." Drew Christiansen, S.J.; America ['The National Catholic Weekly,'] May 15, 1999.) (See Note 3 for another relevant statement.)
Regarding Pope Benedict XVI:
"As a cardinal, the new pope was a staunch critic of the U.S. led invasion of Iraq. On one occasion before the war, he was asked whether it would be just. 'Certainly not,' he said, and explained that the situation led him to conclude that 'the damage would be greater than the values one hopes to save.'
"Even after the war, Cardinal Ratzinger did not cease criticism of U.S. violence and imperialism: 'it was right to resist the war and its threats of destruction...It should never be the responsibility of just one nation to make decisions for the world.' " (From "New Pope Benedict XVI a Strong Critic of War." Michael Griffin, Houston Catholic Worker, Vol. XXV, No. 4, Special Edition 2005.)
It is also instructive to consider the name "Benedict" chosen by the former Cardinal Ratzinger:
"Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, said Tuesday that the new pope told the cardinals he was selecting Benedict because 'he is desirous to continue the efforts of Benedict XV on behalf of peace ... throughout the world.' Elected directly after the outbreak of WWI, Benedict XV sent a representative to each country to press for peace. On August 1, 1917, he delivered the Plea for Peace, which demanded a cessation of hostilities, a reduction of armaments, a guaranteed freedom of the seas, and international arbitration." (Griffin, Houston Catholic Worker.)