After leading both religious pilgrims and the faithful of Rome and its environs in the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis appealed for an end to the persecution of Christians in Iraq, as well as the restoration of peace in the Holy Land amid continued fighting between Israeli forces and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. The Holy Father was also able to reveal that the personal envoy he is sending to Iraq, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, will leave today. “ The news reports coming from Iraq leave us in dismay and disbelief: thousands of people, including many Christians, driven from their homes in a brutal manner,” Francis said. “Children dying of hunger and thirst in their flight; women abducted; violence of every kind; destruction of historical, cultural and religious patrimonies. All this gravely offends God and humanity. Hatred is not to be carried out in the name of God! War is not to be waged in the name of God!” the Pope exclaimed.
The Holy Father said that he was very thankful for those who acted “with courage” to bring relief to those suffering in Iraq, particularly those in the Christian community. Pope Francis said that he was sending Cardinal Fernando Filoni has his envoy “in order better to ensure those dear suffering populations of my closeness to them.” Pope Francis went on to say that he was praying for a situation in Gaza “that cuts down innocent victims and does nothing but worsen the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians,” he explained. “Let us pray together the God of peace, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary: Grant us peace, O Lord, in our days, and render us artificer’s justice and peace,” the Pontiff prayed. “Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!” exclaimed the Pope prayerfully. The Pope is also praying for the situation of the Ebola virus epidemic in Africa and for those working to put a stop to the deadly disease.