It is now even outdated to speak of a “piecemeal third world war,” as Pope Francis has done almost since the beginning of his pontificate: what is going on today is “a truly global conflict.” This is the bitter and increasingly disturbing statement that the Pope makes in his speech to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See during the audience in the Hall of Blessings for the welcome at the beginning of the year.
Francis devotes his entire broad and dense argument to the theme of peace, “at a historical moment in which it is increasingly threatened, weakened and partly lost.” And it focuses on all conflict situations in the world, in more detail than in the Christmas message “Urbi et Orbi”.
Therefore, regarding the war in Gaza, he reiterates his appeal “to all those involved for a ceasefire on all fronts, including in Lebanon, and for the immediate release of all hostages.” He calls for “the Palestinian population to receive humanitarian aid and for hospitals, schools and places of worship to receive the necessary protection.” He hopes “that the international community will resolutely pursue a solution for two states, one Israeli and one Palestinian, as well as an internationally guaranteed special status for the city of Jerusalem, so that Israelis and Palestinians can finally live in peace and security.”
Francis says he is “shocked” by the terrorist attack “on October 7 last year against the population of Israel, in which many innocent people were cruelly injured, tortured and killed, and many were taken hostage,” and reiterates his “condemnation for that”. Action and for every form of terrorism and extremism”. But the “strong Israeli military response in Gaza” has led to the “death of tens of thousands of Palestinians, mostly civilians, including many children, teenagers and young people, and a very serious humanitarian situation with unimaginable suffering And the conflict “further destabilizes a fragile and tense region.”
In Ukraine, “after almost two years of large-scale war in the Russian Federation,” “the much longed-for peace has not yet found a place in people’s minds and hearts, despite the numerous victims and enormous destruction”: “It must not be allowed that “A conflict that is getting worse will be prolonged to the detriment of millions of people, but the ongoing tragedy must be ended through negotiations and in accordance with international law.”
After the Pope addressed the conflicts and humanitarian crises plaguing Africa, as well as the tensions and polarizations in the Americas (including Nicaragua, for which he continues to invite “a respectful diplomatic dialogue for the good of Catholics and the entire population”) , emphasizes that “modern wars no longer only take place on isolated battlefields and do not only affect soldiers.” “In a context in which the distinction between military and civilian objectives no longer appears to be maintained, there is no longer any conflict that indiscriminately affects the civilian population in any way.”
“The events in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip are clear evidence of this,” he denounces. “We must not forget that serious violations of international humanitarian law are war crimes and that it is not enough to detect them, but it is necessary to prevent them.” And “even when it comes to exercising the right to self-defense, it is essential to ensure that the use of force is proportionate.”
The Pope's long speech still voices calls for a “policy of disarmament.” Against hunger, environmental disasters and the climate crisis, which are also causes of conflict. To address the migration emergency in which one cannot hide behind the fear of an “invasion” and in which “no country can be left alone” and which therefore “welcomes with satisfaction the commitment of the European Union to a common solution”. . Harsh words from the Pope also against surrogacy, a practice that “should be banned on a general level”.
And against gender theory, “very dangerous because it erases differences in the claim to make everyone equal.” And if “the increase in anti-Semitic attacks in recent months is particularly worrying,” “equally worrying is the increase in persecution and discrimination against Christians, particularly in the last decade.”
Finally, the Pope's thanks go to the Italian authorities for the preparation of the anniversary, which, as he explains, “can be the time for everyone – Christians and non-Christians – to break swords and make them into plowshares; “the time when a nation will no longer raise sword against sword and the art of war will no longer be learned.”
Learn more ANSA agency protests in front of the Knesset: “Away with the Netanyahu government, elections”. The Pope's appeal: “Ceasefire and release of hostages in Gaza” – Middle East – Ansa.it Israeli forces reported that heavy fighting broke out overnight in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza, with the air force carrying out strikes in the area launched 30 “significant” Hamas targets in the region. (HANDLING)
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