'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."
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Those who are meant to uphold the values of life and liberty cannot remain silent