ROME – Calling the war in Ukraine a “massacre,” Pope Francis said the cry of those who suffer must be heard before cities are reduced to cemeteries.
He issued his strongest words yet about Russia’s war against Ukraine during his Sunday Angelus from St. Peter’s Square.
“Faced with the barbarity of the murder of children, innocents and civilians, there are no strategic reasons that can be upheld,” Francis said. “All that remains is to stop the unacceptable armed aggression before it reduces cities to cemeteries.”
“With pain in my heart, I join my voice to those of the common people who implore the end of the war,” he said. “In the name of God, may the cry of the suffering be heard, and an end be put to the bombings and attacks.”
Referring to the city of Mariupol, heavily bombarded this week by the Russian army that destroyed a maternity ward, a cancer hospital, a mosque and countless homes, Francis said that “it has become a martyred city of this heartbreaking war that is devastating Ukraine.”
“God is God of peace,” Francis said. “Those who use it to justify violence profane his name.”
The pope also asked for “safe and effective” humanitarian corridors, thanked the thousands of volunteers who are helping the millions of refugees who have already fled Ukraine, and urged diocesan and religious communities to “increase the moments of prayer for peace.”
“In the name of God I ask you, put an end to this massacre,” he said.