Decrying the violence, kidnapping, and harassment in Syria and Iraq, Pope Francis has launched an appeal for all human lives to be respected.
Following the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father said, “I urge everyone to reject violence and respect the dignity of every person and the sanctity of human life.”
“I encourage you,” he added, “to take a journey together for the good of the country, opening spaces for encounter and sincere and constructive dialogue.”
“We want to assure those involved in these situations that we do not forget them, but we are close to them and pray insistently, to put an end to the intolerable brutality of which they are victims.”
The Holy Father noted how he, along with members of the Roman Curia, offered the last Mass of the Spiritual Exercises, Friday, to this intention.
"At the same time, I ask everyone," he urged, "to work to alleviate the suffering of those who are being afflicted, because of their faith."
In addition to condemning the tragic events in the Middle East, the Holy Father said, “Let us also remember Venezuela,” the Pope said, “which is living again moments of acute tension.
“I pray for the victims and, in particular,” he said, “for the boy killed a few days ago."
Earlier this week, a 14-year-old boy was shot in the head during an anti-government protest in the city of San Cristobal and died. The nation’s president condemned the attack and San Cristobal’s residents expressed their outrage.
Before concluding, the Pope gave his usual greetings to various groups present, including a group from San Francisco, California. He also wished all the pilgrims a good Sunday, lunch, and reminded them to pray for him.