April 1, 2023

The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, on Sunday appealed for an end to the “senseless” war in Ukraine and other conflicts.

The Pope who is calling for an end to the use of food as a weapon of war, made this known while addressing thousands of people gathered in St Peter’s Square, in his traditional Christmas message.

IsL source, AFP reports that a call to peace is traditionally the focus of the pope’s message at Christmas, the holiday marking the birth of Christ, which he delivers from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica and is broadcast live worldwide.

The 86-year-old on Sunday first turned to “our Ukrainian brothers and sisters who are experiencing this Christmas in the dark and cold, far from their homes”.

“May the Lord inspire us to offer concrete gestures of solidarity to assist all those who are suffering, and may he enlighten the minds of those who have the power to silence the thunder of weapons and put an immediate end to this senseless war!” he said.

“Tragically, we prefer to heed other counsels, dictated by worldly ways of thinking,” he added, recalling “with sorrow” that “the icy winds of war continue to buffet humanity.

“Our time is experiencing a grave famine of peace also in other regions and other theatres of this third world war,” he said.

According to the report; Francis referenced numerous countries in difficulty this Christmas, whether due to conflict or another crisis, from Afghanistan to Yemen, Syria, Myanmar, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Lebanon and Haiti.

For the first time, he also called for “reconciliation” in Iran, rocked by women-led protests for the past three months.

The pope has called for peace in Ukraine ever since Russia invaded its neighbour in February, condemning the war but seeking to maintain a delicate dialogue with Moscow.

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However, he has been criticised in some quarters for not being more explicit in blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a magazine interview published last month, the Argentine pontiff denounced the cruelty of Russia’s troops in Ukraine, drawing a formal protest from Moscow.

On Sunday, the pope also urged those celebrating Christmas to remember those “who go hungry while huge amounts of food daily go to waste and resources are being spent on weapons”.

“The war in Ukraine has further aggravated this situation, putting entire peoples at risk of famine, especially in Afghanistan and in the countries of the Horn of Africa,” he said.

“We know that every war causes hunger and exploits food as a weapon, hindering its distribution to people already suffering.

“On this day, let us learn from the Prince of Peace (Christ) and, starting with those who hold political responsibilities, commit ourselves to making food solely an instrument of peace.”


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