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Pope Francis prays for peace at his general audience in St Peter’s Square yesterday (CNS/Lola Gomez)

As the wars, violence and deaths continue in Ukraine and in the Holy Land, Pope Francis yesterday again urged people to pray for peace. Source: CNS.

“Let us think about and pray for populations suffering from war,” he said at the end of his weekly general audience yesterday. “Do not forget the tormented Ukraine and think of the Palestinian and Israeli people. May the Lord bring about a just peace.”

The Pope then paused for silent prayer.

“They are suffering so much,” he said. “Children are suffering. The sick are suffering. The elderly suffer. And many young people are dying.

“War is always a defeat,” the Pope repeated. “Don’t forget this: It is always a defeat.”

The day before the audience, Vatican News and the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano published an interview with Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem.

“The war will end sooner or later, but the consequences of this war will be terrible,” the cardinal said. “You see, there are two issues that seem particularly worrisome to me. The first is that both sides seem to lack a strategic vision that goes beyond the annihilation of the other. Even the land itself appears to have taken a back seat in respect to the desire for mutual destruction. There is no exit strategy.”

The second issue, he said, is the difficulty Israelis and Palestinians have of “distancing themselves, even emotionally, from the heavy past of both peoples, the Holocaust and the Nakba, which was evoked on October 7,” when Hamas militants entered Israel and went on their killing and kidnapping rampage. “Nakba” refers to the mass displacement of Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

“Something has broken. I hope not irreparably. But it will take a long time and a lot of effort to rebuild,” the cardinal said.


Pope prays for ‘just peace’ in Middle East and Ukraine (CNS via NCR Online)