Pope Francis calls for peace in Ukraine, Myanmar, Peru

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Jan. 22 (UPI) — Pope Francis reflected on the conflicts facing the world during Sunday’s Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, offering prayer to those facing hardships.

The Roman Catholic gathering in the plaza comes a week after the Burmese army set fire to the Church of Assumption in Chan Tar, a village in northeast Myanmar. About 500 homes were destroyed, forcing some 3,000 villagers to evacuate, the Vatican News reports.

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Myanmar’s military took control of the government with a coup d’etat in February 2021. Chan Tar is a rebel stronghold.

The Pope said Our Lady of Assumption was “one of the most ancient and important places of worship,” in Myanmar.

“I worry about the situation in Myanmar,” he said. “I am close to the people and the societies which are under threat. May God finish quickly this conflict.”

He echoed the same sentiment for Peru, where supporters of former President Pedro Castillo have turned violent while seeking to unseat President Dina Boularte. More than 30 people have been injured, CNN reports.

“Violence takes away the possibility of hope,” Pope Francis said. “Full respect to those who are fighting against brothers of the same country. I say ‘no’ to violence. No more deaths.”

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Pope Francis said there were Peruvian citizens present in the square on Sunday.

Meanwhile he said progress is being made to stop violence in Cameroon, which has been under civil war since 2017. Human Rights Watch reports about 4,000 people have been killed by security forces or other armed groups in the conflict.

To close his prayer, Pope Francis offered a greeting and prayer to the people of Ukraine.

“Let us not never forget to invoke peace for the martyrs of Ukraine,” he said. “May the Lord comfort and sustain those who are suffering greatly.”