Pope launches appeals to pray for peace, prevent ‘mountain of dead’

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Pope Francis speaks to a crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican for his weekly general audience Nov. 22, 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis appealed for perseverance in praying for peace, especially in the Holy Land where the conflict is no longer “warfare,” but has become “terrorism.”

“Please, let’s move toward peace. Pray for peace,” the pope said. “May the Lord help us to not keep going to the point of killing everyone.”

At the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square Nov. 22, the pope reminded everyone “not to forget to persevere in prayer for those who are suffering because of wars in so many parts of the world, especially for the dear people of Ukraine, martyred Ukraine, and Israel and Palestine.”

The pope said earlier that morning he had met separately with a group of Israelis who have relatives being held hostage in Gaza and a group of Palestinians who have relatives in Gaza.

The individuals in both groups “are suffering so much and I heard how they both suffer,” he said.

“This is what wars do,” he continued, “but here we have gone beyond war. This is not warfare, this is terrorism.”

He asked people to pray that the Lord would intercede and “help us to solve the problems and not be driven by passions that wind up killing everyone. Let us pray for the Palestinian people, let us pray for the Israeli people, so that peace may come.”

Entrusting prayers to the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network

Through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, Pope Francis also encouraged people to continue to pray for peace.

“What is happening in the Holy Land is very painful. It is very painful. The Palestinian people, the people of Israel, have the right to peace. These two fraternal peoples have the right to live in peace,” he said in Spanish in the video released Nov. 22. The same video with subtitles in English, French, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic and Hebrew was also made available.

“Let us pray for peace in the Holy Land. Let us pray that the difficulties resolve themselves in dialogue and negotiation and not with a mountain of dead on each side,” he said.

The pope had asked the prayer network to organize a campaign of a special prayer for peace in the world and in the Holy Land.

In addition to the video, which is available here, the prayer network also published a novena for peace in the world, especially in the Holy Land and between Palestinians and Israelis, available here.

Carol Glatz

Carol Glatz writes for Catholic News Service.