"This is not war; this is terrorism." With those words, Pope Francis described the Israel-Hamas war that is ravaging the Holy Land.
Addressing the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for his Wednesday General Audience, November 22, the Pope turned his thoughts to those suffering in Palestine and Israel.
In his appeal, he prayed for everyone suffering due to various wars, especially in Ukraine, Israel, and Palestine.
The Holy Father recalled his meeting earlier the same morning, on 22 November, with two delegations: one of Israelis who have relatives held hostage in Gaza, and another of families of Palestinians who are suffering in Gaza.
"They suffer so much. I heard how they both suffer," said the Pope, adding that "wars do that".
"But here we have gone beyond wars", the Pope stressed. "This is not war; this is terrorism."
The Pope invited everyone to "pray for peace; pray always for peace."
The Holy Father then prayed that the Lord may "help us to solve the problems and not be driven by the passions that wind up killing everyone."
"Let us pray for the Palestinian people; let us pray for the Israeli people, so that peace may come," the Pope concluded.
The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, announced on Friday that Pope Francis would be meeting with the delegations, stressing that the meetings would be "of an exclusively humanitarian nature" aiming to demonstrate Pope Francis' "spiritual closeness to the suffering of each individual".