Women mourn the loss of their family members after Israeli bombardment in al-Maghazi, Gaza Women mourn the loss of their family members after Israeli bombardment in al-Maghazi, Gaza   (AFP or licensors)

Pope: May those who fight wars convert to fighting for peace

Pope Francis prays for peace and remembers today's martyrs, highlighting worldwide discrimination and persecution.

By Francesca Merlo

Addressing the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square for his Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis invited all those present to implore the Sacred Heart of Jesus "to touch the hearts of those who desire war, so that they may be converted to plans of dialogue and peace".

He emphasised, as he often does, the importance of continuing to pray for peace in Ukraine, Palestine, Israel and Myanmar, as well as in the "many other places where there is so much suffering because of war". 

A time of martyrdom

Greeting pilgrims after the recitiation of the Marian Prayer, Pope Francis also recalled today's observance, just one day after the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, of the liturgical commemoration of the first Roman martyrs, also known as the first martyrs of the Church of Rome. "We too", said the Pope, "live in a time of martyrdom", adding, "even more so than in the early centuries".

He explained that in various parts of the world, "many of our brothers and sisters suffer discrimination and persecution because of their faith, thereby nurturing the Church". Others, he continued, face a "white-glove" martyrdom: a term the Pope has used since the early years of his pontificate, to indicate a subtle form of persecution, through which Christians are driven away, marginalised, and discriminated against in political and social life. 

"Let us support them and be inspired by their testimony of love for Christ", concluded the Pope.


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30 June 2024, 12:29