Photo: Pope Francis
Pope Francis said here Saturday that hatred and greed are the root causes of armed conflict and blamed the continuing civil war in Syria on those who “make and sell weapons.”
In a speech before close to 600 people who packed the church built on the site identified with the baptism of Jesus, the pontiff urged the international community to help Syria end its conflict.
“This is the root of evil! Hatred, the desire for money,” Francis said with reference to “the manufacturing of arms and the sale of arms,” adding that “I pray once more that reason and restraint will prevail, and that with the help of the international community, Syria will rediscover the path of peace.”
The pope, who once again departed from his prepared script, noted that dialogue is the only way to resolve Syria’s three-year civil war, which has left more than 160,000 dead, and asked all the parties involved to accept the idea of negotiations.
“I urge the international community not to leave Jordan alone in the task of meeting the humanitarian emergency caused by the arrival of so great a number of refugees, but to continue and even increase its support and assistance,” he said, adding that he vehemently renews his call for peace in Syria.
Francis visited the Jordan River, said to be the place Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and where, the pope said, he showed his humility in sharing the human condition and “with his love restored our dignity and gave us salvation.”
For the moment, he said, “we are profoundly affected by the tragedies and suffering of our times, particularly those caused by ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.”