Pope says 'very worried' by Mideast violence

Pope Francis decries 'spiral of violence' in Middle East

Announced late a year ago, this week President Donald Trump officially moved the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, causing protests among the Arab population in both in Israel and Palestine.

"I am very concerned at the escalation of tension in the Holy Land and in the Middle East, and the spiral of violence that is moving away further from the path of peace, dialogue and negotiation", he said at the end of his general audience in Rome's St. Peter's Square. I repeat that using violence never brings peace.

"War calls war, violence calls violence", he said.

During his homily, Francis also said that St. Paul was uncompromising in ministry, saying that service without compromise is essential for pastors wishing to find peace.

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

Calling for "dialogue, justice and peace", Francis said violence "has never led to peace".

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.

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

Francis was reflecting on St. Paul discerning when to leave his flock in the care of others, a decision Francis said all bishops must make. "But above all these things, clothe yourselves with charity, which unites them in a ideal way".

"We are called to receive [the candle's] splendor!" he said.

"I was in Ausonia in the year '59".

"To always walk as children of light, persevering in faith", as it says in the Rite of Christian initiation of adults, is the Christian vocation, the pope said. He explained that is symbolized the fire of faith passing from the godparents and parents to the child.

A delegation of Taiwanese bishops spent an hour meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican last Monday, and invited him to visit the island nation.



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