Pope voices growing concern at violence in Middle East

 After praying the Angelus on Sunday with thousands gathered in St Peter's Square, the Pope spoke of his "growing concern" with which he was following events in Iraq and the Holy Land. The Holy Father said: "Faced, on the one hand, with blind violence that provokes appalling massacres and, on the other, with the threat of a worsening of the crisis which over the last few days has become even more dramatic, what is needed is justice and a serious and credible commitment to peace, which unfortunately are nowhere to be seen. "For this reason, I invite everyone to join in faithful and persistent prayer: may the Lord illuminate hearts and may no one evade their duty to construct peaceful coexistence, recognizing that all men are brothers, whatever the people to which they belong." The Pope then recalled that in Moscow, Russia, from July 3 to 5 "an important summit meeting of religious leaders" is taking place, "organized by the inter-religious council of Russia. At the invitation of the Patriarch of Moscow, the Catholic Church is taking part with its own delegation. I wish to communicate my most cordial greetings to His Holiness Alexis II and to all the participants." "This important meeting of so many religious leaders of the world, is a sign of a shared desire to promote dialogue between civilisations and a search for a more just and peaceful world order. I hope that, with sincere commitment on everyone's part, areas for effective collaboration may be identified, while maintaining respect and mutual understanding, in order to face up to today's challenges. "For Christians, this means learning to know one another even more profoundly and to esteem one another, in the light of man's dignity and his eternal destiny. Giving assurances of my prayers to God that He may render the summit's work fruitful, upon everyone I invoke abundant blessings from heaven." Source: VIS

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