Pope Francis decries 'spiral of violence' in Middle East


The pope stopped to greet this group from Ausonia, Argentina.

Those being baptised are also given a candle, lighted from the Easter candle, as the priest says the words, "Receive the light of Christ". If children are being baptised, then it is the task of parents and godparents to nurture the flame, helping them to persevere in their faith.

Calling for a "revolution of tenderness" in parishes and the diocese, Pope Francis said that while "guiding a Christian community is the specific task of the ordained minister - the pastor - pastoral care is based in baptism and blossoms from brotherhood and is not the task only of the pastor and priests, but of all the baptized". This week, he said that young people were too caught up in a world of technology and separated from human contact, expressing his concern that many would only "live in the virtual world".

This is our Christian vocation, Pope Francis continued, to walk as sons and daughters of the light, persevering in faith.

Yet Pope Francis didn't stop there. "Do not be dismayed, for the power of the Holy Spirit enables you to do this, and holiness, in the end, is the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life".

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CITY: said Wednesday he was "very worried" by escalating violence in the Middle East after 60 Gazans were shot dead by Israeli troops while protesting the United States embassy's move to Jerusalem.

"I express my great sorrow for the dead and wounded and with prayer and affection I am close to all who suffer", he said at Wednesday's general audience.

Pope Francis has warned that the latest outbreak of violence on the Gaza border is only hurting chances of peace in the Middle East, saying "war begets war".

The head of the Roman Catholic Church also said: "I Repeat once again that violence never leads to peace".

The pope concluded with an exhortation that "all the parties involved and the global community" would "renew their commitment so that dialogue, justice and peace prevail".