30-June-2014 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Pope Francis: Dialogue is the Only Path for Peace

Pontiff Appeals to Iraqi Government to Avoid War

VATICAN CITY, June 29, 2014 (Zenit.org) - During his Sunday Angelus address to thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis appealed for peace in Iraq, which has experienced an upsurge in violence.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an Al-Qaeda splinter group, have launched increasing attacks in the country in order to establish a caliphate that would stretch from Iraq all the way to northern Syria. The militant group has overrun two villages in the Kirkuk province, forcing thousands to flee their homes.

The Holy Father addressed the reports of violence in the country, saying they were "unfortunately painful."

"I unite myself with the Bishops of the country in appealing to the governments so that, through dialogue, they can preserve the national unity and avoid war," the Holy Father said.

"I am close to the thousands of families, especially the Christian [families], who have had to leave their houses and who are in grave danger."

"Violence," he concluded, "generates more violence; dialogue is the only path for peace." (J.A.E.)

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