Pope: Current Conflicts May Amount to Third World War

At commemoration for fallen WWI soldiers, Pope Francis calls for end to wars in Middle East, Ukraine.

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Pope Francis at the Austro-Hungarian cemetery in Fogliano Redipuglia, northern Italy, Saturday, Sept.13, 2014.
Pope Francis at the Austro-Hungarian cemetery in Fogliano Redipuglia, northern Italy, Saturday, Sept.13, 2014.Credit: AP

Pope Francis said Saturday that armed conflicts around the world amounted to a third world war, as he commemorated fallen soldiers with a mass at the Redipuglia memorial in northern Italy.

“I now find myself here, in this place, able to say only one thing: War is madness,” Francis said. “Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war – one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction.”

The pope used his visit to the memorial – the burial site of 100,000 Italian soldiers killed in World War I – to urge people to show more compassion for the suffering caused by current conflicts.

Francis has been urging an end to conflicts in the Middle East, Ukraine and elsewhere.

“From this place, we remember all the victims of every war. Today, too, the victims are many,” the pope said, in his homily during a mass at the memorial, which commemorates soldiers who died fighting the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

“With the heart of a son, a brother, a father, I ask each of you, indeed for all of us, to have a conversion of heart: to move on from ‘What does it matter to me?’ to tears: for each one of the fallen of this senseless massacre, for all the victims of the mindless wars, in every age,” he said.

“Humanity needs to weep, and this is the time to weep.”

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