Pope Francis offered prayers for the countless lives affected by violence and armed conflicts in 2023, urging those with vested interests in such conflicts to heed the voice of their conscience.
In his address following the Angelus prayer on Sunday, December 31, 2023, the Pope asked individuals worldwide to reflect on the profound consequences of armed conflicts.
Vatican News reported that the pontiff questioned the toll on human lives, the extent of destruction, and the pervasive suffering and poverty that have resulted from these conflicts.
“May those who have a stake in conflicts listen to the voice of conscience!” Pope Francis implored, emphasizing the importance of moral reflection in the face of ongoing strife across the globe.
The Pope’s appeal came in the wake of a reflection on the year marked by violence, death, destruction, and mass displacement.
He particularly lamented the tragic events in Nigeria’s Plateau state, where communal violence on Christmas Eve claimed the lives of over 140 people, leaving scores more injured.
Pope Francis prayed for God’s deliverance from the horrors experienced in Nigeria. He also extended his thoughts and assurances of closeness and prayer to Liberia, where a fuel truck explosion near the capital, Monrovia, resulted in the deaths of 52 people. Many others remain in critical condition in hospitals.
Continuing his plea for global peace, the Pope invoked prayers for various regions, including the tormented people of Ukraine, the Palestinian and Israeli communities, the Sudanese population, and numerous others experiencing the ravages of war.
Pope Francis emphasized the need for courage in self-reflection and called on humanity to strive for a more peaceful and compassionate future as the world prepares to welcome the new year.