Pope appeals for peace in the Middle East, Ukraine and Iraq

100th anniversary of the first World War remembered in the Angelus prayer

Pope Francis delivers his Sunday Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic Palace in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican today. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Pope Francis delivers his Sunday Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic Palace in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican today. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Sun, Jul 27, 2014, 16:40

Recalling that tomorrow marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the first World War, Pope Francis has issued another impassioned appeal for peace, especially in the Middle East, in Ukraine and in Iraq.

Speaking at the end of his traditional Sunday Angelus prayer, the Pope said: “That conflict (first World War)...ended up, after four long years, in an utterly fragile peace. Tomorrow will be a day of mourning as we all recall that tragedy...in the hope that the errors of the past are never repeated.

“Today, my thoughts turn to three areas of crisis, in particular – the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine. I ask you to continue to pray with me so that the good Lord will concede to the peoples and authorities of those regions the wisdom and the strength necessary to move ahead on the path of peace... Let us remember that, with war, all is lost whilst with peace, nothing is lost.

“Sisters and brothers, never let there be war. Never war. I am thinking above all of the children who have been deprived of the hope of a decent life, a worthy future: dead children, injured children, mutilated children, orphans, children who play amongst left-over war weapons, children who do not know how to smile. Please stop. I ask you with all my heart. The time has come to stop. Please stop.”

This has not been the first such appeal made by the Pope. He visited the Holy Land in May.

Subsequent to that visit, the Pope hosted a joint prayer service in the Vatican attended by Israeli president, Shimon Peres, and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, as well as by Islamic, Jewish and Christian clerics.

The recent ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has resulted in more than 1,000 people deaths.