Pope: war is always a defeat for humanity

Pope Francis has appealed to the US not to launch military strikes against Syria as the Vatican intensifies efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis. 

Tens of thousands of people answered the call by Pope Francis for a ‘cry for peace’ in Syria by attending a vigil in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican.

Pope Francis, who spent most of the five-hour vigil in silence, warned that “violence and war lead only to death, they speak of death! Violence and war are the language of death!

“War always marks the failure of peace, it is always a defeat for humanity,” he said.

The Vatican’s ambassador to the United Nations (UN) has warned that military strikes on Syria are unjustified and will create a far larger humanitarian disaster for people already suffering from hunger, displacement and a critical lack of medical care.

Archbishop Francis Chullikatt appealed to world leaders to work toward a “cessation of violence, not an escalation of violence” in Syria.

“As winds of war howl around Syria in this moment, we urge building and restoring peace through all options and alternatives, not yet exhausted. How can we think of military strikes as the only alternative? The end cannot justify the means,” Archbishop Chullikatt said.

He warned that escalating the violence could double the number of Syrians displaced by violence saying that as much as half of the population of Syria will need assistance by the end of 2013.