Pope Francis, pontiff of the Roman Catholic church, has called on all people of faith, regardless of religious sect or affiliations, to observe Sept 7 as a global day of prayer and fasting for Syria as he condoned the use of chemical weapons as a means to settle any domestic or international conflict.
On Sept 7, staring 7 pm until midnight at St Peter's Square, Pope Francis asked each and every religious person and those against war to join him "gather together in prayer, in a spirit of penitence, to ask from God this great gift [of peace] for the beloved Syrian nation and for all the situations of conflict and violence in the world."
"Never again war!" Pope Francis said. By "again," he obviously referred to the Second World War of 1939 to 1945 of which he was able to personally witness the destruction, loss of lives as well as after effects as rehabilitation and rebuilding started to take place. Pope Francis was born on Dec 17, 1936. "War brings on war! Violence brings on violence."
"We want a peaceful world," he said, "We want to be men and women of peace."
The spiritual leader of the 1.2-billion strong Roman Catholic faith continued to urge both sides that any conflict will not be ended with another conflict. Instead, "listen to the voice of their conscience and with courage take up the way of negotiations."
"Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace!" the 266th heir to the throne of St Peter said.
"All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace," he charged.
"I forcefully condemn the use of chemical weapons," he said. "I tell you I have impressed in my mind and heart the images of what happened in the last days."
"There is the judgment of God, and also the judgment of history, upon our actions," he said, "from which there is no escaping."
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