(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis made an appeal for the safety of citizens trapped inside the embattled Iraqi city of Mosul on Sunday.
Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis said, “In these dramatic hours, I am close to the entire population of Iraq, especially that of the city of Mosul.” The Holy Father went on to say, “Our hearts are shocked by the heinous acts of violence that for too long have been perpetrated against innocent citizens: whether they be Muslims, whether they be Christians, or people belonging to other ethnic groups and religions.”
Having departed from his prepared text, Pope Francis added, “I was saddened to hear news of the killing – in cold blood – of many sons and daughters of that beloved land, including many children: this cruelty makes us weep, leaving us without words.”
The Holy Father concluded his appeal saying, “Along with this word of solidarity goes assurance of my remembrance in prayer so that Iraq, while gravely stricken, might be both strong and firm in the hope of moving toward a future of security, reconciliation and peace.”
The Pope then invited all those gathered to join him in a moment of silent prayer, before leading them in the recitation of the Ave Maria.
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