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Middle East

‘Please stop!’ Pope Francis makes plea for peace

Pope Francis gestures as he delivers a speech from the window of his apartment during his Sunday Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on July 27, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO

ROME: Pope Francis made an emotional plea for peace Sunday in an impromptu addition to comments delivered at his weekly Angelus address in Saint Peter’s Square.

As the Argentinian-born pontiff wrapped up his regular address to the faithful, he spoke of the upcoming centenary of the outbreak of World War I and said his thoughts were on the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine in particular.

With his voice appearing to crack with emotion, the pope broke off from his scripted remarks to make a direct appeal for fighting to end.

“Please stop! I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop. Stop, please!”

Marking the World War I anniversary, Francis called on people “not to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

While he made no direct reference to the situation in the Gaza Strip, the comments came after a humanitarian truce broke down Sunday with the resumption of fighting.

“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,” he said.

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

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 28, 2014, on page 9.

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