Pope Francis has urged the international community to intensify efforts to promote peace worldwide.
In his annual address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Vatican, Pope Francis said wars, conflicts, and terrorist attacks were causing immense suffering to people in different parts of the world.
His thoughts went to Nigeria where there are continuous violent attacks, and where young girls are kidnapped and trafficked. “This is an abominable trade which must not continue,” the Pope stressed. “It is a scourge which needs to be eradicated since it strikes all of us, from individual families to the entire international community.”
His thoughts also went to South Sudan, Sudan, the Horn of Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where wars and conflicts have claimed so many lives and forced thousands to flee their homes “to endure conditions of extreme distress.”
Pope Francis emphasised the fact that wars often involve the widespread incidence of the horrendous crime of rape of women and girls which he described as the “most grave offence against the dignity of women.”
Rape victims, he said, “are not only violated in body but also in spirit, resulting in a trauma hard to erase and with effects on society as well.”
Pope Francis appealed to the individual governments and the international community to make a commitment to “end every form of fighting, hatred and violence, and to pursue reconciliation, peace and the defence of the transcendent dignity of the person.”