Pope Calls On Christians to Pray for World Conflicts

Pope Calls On Christians to Pray for World Conflicts

Pope Francis
Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)
Vatican City — Pope Francis has encouraged the faithful around the world to pray for “the situations of tension and conflict that persist in different parts of the world, especially in the Middle East and in Ukraine.”

The pontiff was speaking during his weekly Sunday Angelus address on July 20 at St Peter’s Square where he lamented the fleeing of the last Christians from the Iraqi city of Mosul, who were reportedly told by ISIS forces last week to either convert to Islam, pay the Jizya tax or leave, reported CNA.

“They are persecuted; our brothers are persecuted, they are driven out, they have to leave their houses without having the possibility of taking anything with them,” he said.

“I want to express my closeness and my constant prayer to these families and these people,” he added. “Dear brothers and sisters who are so persecuted, I know how much you suffer, I know that you are stripped of everything. I am with you in the faith of the one who has conquered evil!”

Members of ISIS, a militant group that operates in Iraq and Syria with the aim of establishing a caliphate in northern Syria and Iraq, overtook the country’s second-largest city, Mosul and the city of Tikrit, 95 miles north of Baghdad, June 10.

On May 17, the group declared to the remaining Christian community of Mosul that they needed openly convert to Islam, pay an unspecified jizya tax in exchange for their safety while observing certain conditions, or leave their homes with only their clothes, nothing more.

After the declaration, the houses of Mosul Christians were marked with an “N” signifying “Nazarenes.” Consequently, the few remaining Christians have left, marking the first time in history the city has been without Christians.

“The God of peace will awaken in all the authentic desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence will not win over violence. Violence is won over by peace!” said the Pope and led the pilgrims in a moment of silent prayer.

Elsewhere, the Pontiff offered prayers for the victims of flight MH17 – a Malaysian passenger plane crash in eastern Ukraine on July 17, urging all parties involved in the country’s conflict to work for peace, according to a statement from the Vatican.

The plane according to CNN was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, and is believed to have been shot down by a surface-to-air-missile. Aboard the plane were 298 people, all civilians including several children. They all died.

As a result of the rising death toll in Gaza due conflict between Israel and Palestine, the Holy Father made a personal call to both presidents in order to ask for peace according to a July 18 statement from the Vatican.

The Pope telephoned President Shimon Peres and President Mahmoud Abbas and voiced “his very serious concerns regarding the current situation of conflict involving in particular the Gaza Strip which, in a climate of growing hostility, hatred and suffering for the two populations, is claiming many victims and giving rise to a serious humanitarian emergency.” read the statement.

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