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Pope Francis rallies against the weapons trade, asks for the conversion of 'criminals'

2014-05-24

Jordan's King Hussein added another job description to his title, as chauffeur. He drove the golf cart, taking Pope Francis near the banks of the Jordan River. 

With the Mid-East sun setting in the West, the Pope descended the steep banks to pray near the water's edge.

Once finished, they hopped on board the golf cart to another point along the river banks. Before moving on, he left a message on the visitor's book talking about God's love.

Immediately after, the Pope visited the Catholic Church under construction nearby. Dozens of disabled youth and refugees waited inside.

"Dear Father, Thank you for coming to visit us.”

The Pope centered his remarks on the bloody, three-year conflict in Syria. He especially denounced arms dealers as one of the greatest obstacles to peace. 

POPE FRANCIS
"These are roots of all evil, hatred and greed, for money, for the construction and for the sale of weapons. This should make us all think, who is behind it all? Who gives everyone going through conflicts the weapons to prolong the conflict? Let us think, and from our hearts, let us say a word for these poor people, these criminals, for their conversion.”

While thanking countries like Jordan for taking in people displaced by violence, the Pope called on the warring sides to choose dialogue over violence to end the conflict.

POPE FRANCIS
"And I renew my heartfelt appeal for peace in Syria. May the violence cease and may humanitarian law be respected, thus ensuring much needed assistance to those who are suffering! May all parties abandon the attempt to resolve issues by the use of arms and return to negotiations.”

After the Pope's remarks, several young people shared their experiences as refugees from neighboring countries, like Syria and Iraq.

"It saddens that it is a place that no longer people have privilege to be in. Over the years Iraq and its people have suffered greatly. For those that left, they leave behind everything they know, their home, their friends, their relatives, their culture.”

In addition to the refugees, children with disabilities shared their challenges and how God helped them. The Pope was especially moved by the words of an 11-year-old boy with leukemia, undergoing chemotherapy.

"I prayed that my hair would not fall, although my doctor told me that it would fall. For sure, but God listened to my prayers and I did not lose it. I asked many questions of why is this happening. But I kept hearing a voice saying I am special, and created unequally.”

After listening to their testimonies, Pope Francis closed off his audience personally greeting the young men and women gathered to see him. 
 

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