Pope condemns Gaza killings, says ME needs justice, peace

Cheryl Sanders
May 16, 2018

Pope Francis has condemned the killing of Palestinians near the Gaza-Israel border.

Pope Francis said Wednesday he was "very worried" by escalating violence in the Middle East after deadly clashes on the Gaza border were said to have left 60 Palestinians dead.

"I am very anxious and saddened by the escalation of tensions in the Holy Land and in the Middle East, and by the spiral of violence that is increasingly moving away from the path of peace, dialogue and negotiations".

Francis said he was "very anxious and pained" at the bloodshed and expressed his "great pain for the dead and wounded" and all those who suffer. "War begets war and violence begets violence". The objective of the meeting is "to discern together, in the presence of God, the responsibility of all and each one in these devastating injuries, as well as to study appropriate and lasting changes that would prevent the repetition of these always reprehensible acts", the statement said.

Monday's demonstration had coincided with Israel's 70th anniversary - an event Palestinians refer to as "The Catastrophe" - and the relocation of Washington's Israel embassy to Jerusalem, which also took place Monday.

"I invite all the parties involved and the global community to renew the commitment so that dialogue, justice and peace prevail".

He led those at the audience in praying a Hail Mary, invoking "Mary, Queen of Peace" and concluding with the prayer, "May God have mercy on us!"

Pope Francis finished his catechesis on baptism with an especially energetic audience.

Pope Francis also explained that the baptismal candle reminds us that the Light of the World is Jesus Christ, "who, having risen from the dead, has conquered the darkness of evil".

"We are called to receive his splendor" and let one's heart be set on fire, he added.

"I was in Ausonia in the year '59".

The Pope said that bishops should seek "the grace" to consider quitting if required.

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