|The photo by American photographer Joseph Roger O’Donnell of Nagasaki |
circulated by Pope Francis over the 2017 holidays.
(Credit: Vatican Press Office.)
John Allen offers some context for this extraordinary gesture:
The gesture is consistent with Francis’s effort since his election to speak out against what he describes as a “Third World War” today, being fought in piecemeal fashion in various parts of the world. The pontiff has also spoken about the disproportionate suffering children often experience in conflicts, including the risk of being enrolled as child soldiers.
The gesture with the photo of Nagasaki also comes at the close of a year in which the threat of nuclear conflict once again had the world on edge, in light of North Korea’s threat to use nuclear weapons, and U.S. President Donald Trump’s vow that America would unleash “fire and fury” should that happen.
…Though release of the photo in the run-up to New Year’s does not add anything substantive to the pontiff’s positions, it’s nevertheless the first time Francis has asked that a specific image be circulated in the holiday season, suggesting he believes its message is especially relevant at the moment.