Highlights

  • Pope Francis criticises weapons industry
  • 'Arms sales on rise, can there be peace?'
  • Pope calls for release of Israeli hostages

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In Christmas appeal, Pope Francis criticises weapons industry

Speaking from the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis said he grieved the “abominable attack” of Hamas against southern Israel on Oct. 7 and called for the release of hostages.

In Christmas appeal, Pope Francis criticises weapons industry

Pope Francis on Monday blasted the weapons industry and its “instruments of death” that are fueling wars around the globe as he made a Christmas Day appeal for peace in the world and in particular between Israel and the Palestinians.

Speaking from the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica to the throngs of people below, Francis said he grieved the “abominable attack” of Hamas against southern Israel on Oct. 7 and called for the release of hostages.

And he begged for an end to Israel’s campaign in Gaza and the “appalling harvest of innocent civilians” as he called for humanitarian aid to reach the strip.

Francis devoted his Christmas Day blessing to a call for peace in the world.

Francis’ annual “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) speech typically offers a lament of all the misery facing the world, and this year’s edition was no different.

From Armenia and Azerbaijan to Syria and Yemen, Ukraine to South Sudan and Congo and the Korean peninsula, Francis appealed for humanitarian initiatives, dialogue and security to prevail over violence and death.

He took particular aim at the weapons industry, which he said was fueling the conflicts around the globe with scarcely anyone paying attention.

“It should be talked about and written about, so as to bring to light the interests and the profits that move the puppet-strings of war,” he said. “And how can we even speak of peace, when arms production, sales and trade are on the rise?”

Francis has frequently blasted the weapons industry as “merchants of death” and has said wars today in Ukraine, in particular, are being used to try out new weapons or use up old stockpiles.

He called for peace between Israel and Palestinians, and for the conflict to be resolved “through sincere and persevering dialogue between the parties, sustained by strong political will and the support of the international community.”

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