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Pope Francis 'very worried' over Mideast 'spiral of violence'

16 May 2018

POPE FRANCIS " I am very anxious and hurt by the escalation of tensions in the Holy Land and the Middle East and for the spiral of violence that is increasingly moving away from the path of peace, dialogue and negotiations.

Israel has come under mounting global pressure after its forces opened fire on the Gaza border on Monday, killing 60 protesters who had massed alongside the fence to protest as the USA moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"I repeat that the use of violence can never lead to peace", he said, stressing that "war begets war, violence begets violence". "War calls for war, violence calls for violence".

"May God have mercy on us", Francis said.

Eight children under the age of 16, including an eight-month-old baby, were among Monday's dead.

Pope Francis asked all parties involved in the conflict and the whole worldwide community to renew their promise so that dialogue, justice and peace takes precedence.

Jerusalem's status is perhaps the thorniest issue of the decades-long conflict, with Israeli claiming the entire Holy City as its capital while the Palestinians want the eastern sector as capital of their future state. He also led Catholics in praying a Hail Mary to ask for the intercession of Mary, Queen of Peace.

Pope Francis finished his catechesis on baptism with an especially energetic audience.

St. Paul goes on to explain, the pope said, that to "have clothed" one's self with Christ means to live and cultivate virtue. "But above all these things, clothe yourselves with charity, which unites them in a flawless way". He also explained the meaning of the baptismal candle, lit from the Paschal candle.

"I was in Ausonia in the year '59". Christian education is a right for children.

"I am thinking of all bishops", the pope continued. "Do not be discouraged, because you have the power of the Holy Spirit so that it is possible".

Pope Francis 'very worried' over Mideast 'spiral of violence'