Pope Calls For Unity Against Militant Atrocities
THE Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis, has in his Christmas message yesterday at the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, urged the world to unite to end atrocities by Islamist militants.
The Pope, marking the third Christmas since his election in 2013, said this has become imperative because the militants were causing immense suffering in many countries.
He said the world must unite for an end to the civil wars in Syria and Libya.
“May the attention of the international community be unanimously directed to ending the atrocities in those countries, as well as in Iraq, Libya, Yemen and sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.
He was clearly referring to Islamic State militants who have carried out numerous attacks in those countries and destroyed many cultural heritage sites.
In October, Islamic State militants blew up the Arch of Triumph, a jewel in the exquisite collection of ruins in the Syrian oasis city of Palmyra.
The pontiff condemned recent “brutal acts of terrorism,” including the November 13 attacks by Islamist militants that killed 130 people in Paris, and the downing of a Russian plane over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula that killed 224 people on October 31. Both were claimed by Islamic State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported him as saying: “Only God’s mercy can free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which selfishness spawns in our midst.
“The grace of God can convert hearts and offer mankind,” he said.
He called for peace between Israelis and Palestinians in the area where Jesus was born.
“Where peace is born, there is no longer room for hatred and for war.
“Yet precisely where the incarnate Son of God came into the world, tensions and violence persist, and peace remains a gift to be implored and built,” he said.
He asked God to bring consolation and strength to Christians who are being persecuted around the world and called for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, South Sudan and Ukraine.
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