Announcing his desire to visit Iraq in 2020, Pope Francis called for a peaceful resolution to crises in the Middle East.
He also warned that God would unleash his wrath on hypocritical leaders who liked to talk about peace while selling weapons to warring nations.
“People escaping, crowded on boats, they cry out, seeking hope, not knowing which ports will be able to welcome them in a Europe which opens its ports to vessels that have to load sophisticated and costly weapons, capable of wreaking havoc that doesn’t even spare children,” he said.
The pope made his comments during a meeting today with a Vatican coalition of funding agencies, known by its Italian acronym ROACO. Co-ordinated by the Congregation for Eastern Churches, ROACO assists Eastern-rite churches around the world as well as the Latin-rite church in North Africa and the Middle East. It was holding its annual general meeting at the Vatican.
Pope Francis said their meetings with experts, including papal diplomats, would help them “hear the cry of the many who have been robbed over these years of hope.”
They included people from Syria, where the risk of a major humanitarian crisis still looms, he said, underlining the plight of so many people left without food, medicine, schools and loved ones who have died or been killed.
Picture: Pope Francis greets the crowd during his general audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 5th June 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).