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Pope Francis in emotional plea for peace

Pope Francis (AP)

Pope Francis appealed to countries currently engaged in conflict to stop fighting, in an impromptu addition to his weekly Angelus address in St Peter’s Square yesterday.

The Pope said he was talking about the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine in particular. He broke from his script to make a direct appeal for peace: “Please stop, I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop. Stop, please.” His voice is said to have cracked with emotion as he spoke.

Although the Pope did not refer directly to the ongoing conflict in Gaza, his words came on a day when a humanitarian truce broke down and fighting resumed in the region. More than 1,000 people, including dozens of children, have been killed since the outbreak of the current conflict between Israel and Hamas.

“Brothers and sisters, never war, never war! I am thinking above all of children, who are deprived of the hope of a worthwhile life, of a future,” said Pope Francis.

“Dead children, injured children, mutilated children, orphaned children, children whose toys are things left over from war, children who can’t smile any more.”

The Pope referred to the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and Benedict XV’s denunciation of the Great War as a “useless massacre.”


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