Pope ‘deeply disturbed’ by lack of common response to Syria

Pope Francis told the faithful in St. Peter’s Square that he is “deeply disturbed” by the international community’s failure to come up with a common response to the crisis in Syria and other parts of the world.

“Despite the tools available to the international community, it is difficult to agree on a common action toward peace in Syria or other regions of the world,” the pope told a crowd of 30,000 after his traditional Sunday blessing.

Francis called on “all people of goodwill” to join him in praying for peace, and appealed to political leaders to help “justice prevail.”

The pope spoke after airstrikes by the United States, France and Britain aimed at taking out Syria’s chemical weapons capacity. That followed a suspected poison gas attack by Syrian government forces on a rebel-held Damascus suburb that killed dozens, including children.

The suffering in Syria has been top among the pope’s concerns. Francis last Sunday said “nothing can justify” the use of chemical weapons and called for negotiations.

“There is not a good or a bad war, and nothing can justify such instruments that exterminate defenseless people and populations,” the pope said. “Let’s pray that the responsible politicians and military leaders choose another path: that of negotiations, the only one that can bring peace.”

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