"Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.” < em>Pope Francis, troubled by the latest news from the war in Syria, asked during the Angelus for the international community to use up all efforts to achieve peace. For his part, he called on the worlds1.2 billion Catholics to dedicate one day to fasting and praying for peace.
"I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church, this September 7, the vigil of the feast day for birth of the Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.”
The Pope lamented the effects the war in Syria has had on civilians, especially children. He also strongly condemned the use of chemical weapons.
"With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I can tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgment of God and the judgment of history upon our actions, which is inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War breeds war, violence breeds violence.”
To culminate the day of fasting and prayer, on Saturday, September 7, Pope Francis will lead the prayer vigil at St. Peter's Square, from seven in the evening to midnight.