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As armed conflicts rage across the world in numerous countries, and amid rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, Pope Francis called for an end to “useless massacres” in an emotional anti-war speech on Thursday.
“Please Lord, stop. No more wars,” the Pope said in a homily at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Italy, where nearly 8,000 World War II soldiers are buried.
“This is the fruit of war: hate, death, vendetta. Forgive us, Lord.”—Pope Francis
Pope Francis’s comments came ahead of a summit he’ll be hosting at the Vatican, urging an international ban on nuclear weapons. Eleven Nobel Peace Prize winners will be in attendance, as well as representatives from NATO and the United Nations. Earlier this year, the pontiff urged a third party to mediate between the Trump administration and North Korea’s government.
The meeting will take place while President Donald Trump is in Southeast Asia, where he is expected to ask leaders for support in his ongoing conflict with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Along with the Pope, the governments of China, Japan, and South Korea have called for restraint in the midst of Trump’s handling of the crisis with North Korea, urging him to call Kim to the negotiating table.
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The president has responded to Kim’s recent missile launches and nuclear tests by threatening the isolated country with “fire and fury” and saying he would “totally destroy” North Korea, home to 25 million civilians, if the nuclear activity continued.
In light of Trump’s rhetoric, Pope Francis said in his speech, “the world once more is at war and is preparing to go even more forcefully into war.”
He added that “humanity must not forget” the suffering of those who have lost loved ones to war. “Humanity has not learned the lesson and seems that it does not want to learn it,” he said.
In the visitors’ book at the cemetery, he wrote, “This is the fruit of war: hate, death, vendetta. Forgive us, Lord.”
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