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This December 10, after praying the midday Angelus, Pope Francis turned his attention to a number of difficult situations, with a call to hope.
He spoke, as he always does, about the war in Ukraine and in the Holy Land:
And we continue to pray for the populations who are suffering because of war. We are heading toward Christmas: Are we able, with God’s help, to take concrete steps of peace? It is not easy; we know that. Certain conflicts have historically deep roots. But we also have the testimony of men and women who have worked wisely and patiently for peaceful coexistence. Let their example be followed! Let every effort be put toward addressing and removing the causes of conflict, while at the same time – speaking of human rights – protecting civilians, hospitals, places of worship, freeing hostages and guaranteeing human rights. Let us not forget battered Ukraine, Palestine, Israel.
The Holy Father also noted the release of a “significant number of Armenian and Azerbaijani prisoners.”
“I look with great hope on this positive sign between Armenia and Azerbaijan, for peace in the Southern Caucasus, and I encourage the parties and their leaders to conclude the peace treaty as soon as possible,” he added.
The Pope’s comments are in reference to an agreement made Thursday between the two countries to exchange prisoners of war and work toward signing a peace treaty.
Finally, the Holy Father noted the work to protect creation underway in Dubai. He was supposed to attend the COP28 conference last weekend, but had to cancel because of a bronchial infection.
In a few days, the work of COP28 on the climate, underway in Dubai, will conclude. I ask all of you to pray for a good outcome for the care of our common home and the protection of people.