Pope Francis Calls for End to Israel-Palestinian Violence

Pope Francis decried the “desperate” situation in Gaza, calling for peace, during his general audience on Wednesday. The pope, however, did not mention the deadly attack Tuesday on a hospital in Gaza.

Pope Francis told the faithful gathering in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday that his “thoughts go to Palestine and Israel,” expressing concern that this war could spread. He urged the faithful to pray for peace.  

“The victims are increasing and the situation in Gaza is desperate,” Pope Francis said. “May, please everything, everything be done to avoid a humanitarian disaster, and it’s possible that this war might grow. War does not solve any problems. It only sows death and destruction. It increases hatred and multiplies revenge. War destroys the future.”  

The pope did not mention the deadly explosion at Gaza City’s Ahli Arab Hospital that killed hundreds on Tuesday. The Hamas militant group blamed Israel for the massive blast, but IsraeI denied it was to blame, saying it has evidence that a failed rocket launch by Palestinian Islamic Jihad caused the explosion. A spokesman for the group denied responsibility. 

Pope Francis urged the faithful to take “only one side” in the Israel-Hamas conflict, the side “of peace, prayer, and total dedication.” In that vein, he announced a day of penance on October 27, with a meeting in St. Peter’s Square at 6 p.m. local time. The pope urged all Christians and other religions to do likewise in the way they see best to “come together for peace in the world.”

“I call on all believers to take only one side in this conflict — that of peace, not with words but with prayer,” Pope Francis said. “In a spirit of penance, we’ll have an hour of prayer to implore God for peace in our days, peace in the world.”

Vatican Radio earlier reported that Pope Francis telephoned the Holy Family Catholic Parish in Gaza, the only Latin rite parish there. It aids some 500 people, including the sick and disabled, families, and those who have lost their homes.


A nun at the parish, Sister Nabila Saleh, said, “It was a great blessing to be able to speak with him. He gave us courage and support in prayer.”  

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