'Please stop, I ask you with all my heart'
Pope's impassioned plea for peace in Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine
Pope Francis on Sunday made another urgent appeal for an end to the conflicts in the Middle East, in Iraq and in Ukraine. Speaking after his regular Angleus address to thousands of people gathered in a hot and sunny St. Peter’s Square, the Pope spoke of the victims of war, in particular the children who die or are injured and orphaned by the violence.
"I think especially," the Pope said, "of the children whose hopes for a dignified future are taken from them, dead children, injured and mutilated children, orphans and children who have bits of weapons as toys, children who don’t know how to smile. Please stop, I ask you with all my heart."
Pope Francis urged all those listening to his words to continue joining him in prayer that God might grant to the peoples and leaders in the Middle East, in Iraq and in Ukraine the wisdom and strength to pursue the path of peace with determination and to face each dispute with the force of dialogue and reconciliation. Every decision, he said, must not be based on particular interests but on the common good and on respect for each person. Remember, the Pope said, that all is lost with war and nothing is lost with peace.
Pope Francis also noted that Monday marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First Word War which caused millions of victims and vast destruction. This conflict, he said, which the Pope of that time, Benedict XV, called a "senseless slaughter," resulted, after four long years, in a very fragile peace.
"Tomorrow," the Pope said, "as we remember this tragic event, I hope that the mistakes of the past won’t be repeated, but that the lessons of history will be taken into account, so that peace always prevails through patient and courageous dialogue."
Party official responsible for cross-removal campaign is leaving province, his career is 'finished'
Current environment in the country is not conducive for dispensation of justice, say rights activists
Organizers believe educating young people is part of a culture change needed to end abuse against women
Numbers wanting to see re-imposition of capital punishment appear to be growing, poll suggests
Government has failed to address grievances of the restive region's youth, says priest