Pope 'very worried' by Gaza violence

Wednesday, 16 May, 2018

Pope Francis acknowledged Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting that starts Thursday, during comments at the close of his general audience on Wednesday.

Reacting, Pope Francis told thousands at St. Peter's Square that violence would only lead to more violence.

"I repeat that the use of violence can never lead to peace", he said, stressing that "war begets war, violence begets violence".

"War calls war, violence calls violence", he said.

On Monday, at least 62 Palestinian demonstrators were martyred and hundreds more injured by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the border.

     WARNING Pope has urged nuns to act appropriately online
GETTY WARNING Pope has urged nuns to act appropriately online

Francis, who visited Israel and Palestinian territories in 2014, asked both sides and the global community to redouble efforts "so that dialogue, justice and peace prevail".

Francis has on several occasions expressed support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, indirectly criticizing US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Israel's claim to Jerusalem as its capital. This is what he said when greeting a group of retired soldiers from World War II.

"They are living through traumatic times of remembrance and protest at the dramatically deteriorating humanitarian situation". But in the message there are no direct quotes, which would sound condemnation of Israel's actions.

In a statement to Christian Today he said: 'The Roman Catholic Bishop of Clifton [Declan Lang] and I were in Gaza in January and saw for ourselves the withered economy and the confines under which the population must live as well as the heroic service provided to the population at large by the small Christian community there.

Francis explained that in the early years of the Church, Baptism was also called "illumination", and the newly Baptized were called the "illuminated", following Jesus words that he is "the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life". At the end of the Audience he sent out this cry for peace in the Holy Land.