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Thursday 22 February 2018

Pope slams 'destruction' of war during visit to cemetery in Rome

Pope Francis stands next to marble crosses at the American military cemetery in Nettuno, Italy (Stefano Rellandini/Pool Photo via AP)
Pope Francis stands next to marble crosses at the American military cemetery in Nettuno, Italy (Stefano Rellandini/Pool Photo via AP)

Pope Francis has described war as "the destruction of ourselves" during visits to a military cemetery and the site of a Nazi massacre in Rome.

He laid flowers on 10 graves as he marked the Catholic All Souls' Day commemorating the dead.

Francis saw the graves of 7,680 American war dead buried in the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery.

It also commemorates 3,095 people who went missing in campaigns to liberate southern and central Italy, from Sicily north to Rome, during the Second World War.

The Pope suggested the sight of the arcs of white headstones would stand as a call for peace, saying "no more war, no more of these useless massacres".

He said that humanity has not learned, or has not wanted to learn, the lessons of war.

He said: "How often in history, when men think of making war, they are convinced of bringing a new world, they are convinced that they are making spring.

"It ends in winter; ugly, cruel, a reign of terror, of death."

Calling for prayers for all the dead, the Pope made special mention of those "who are dying in the battle every day".

He referred again to what he has called "a war of pieces", the many eruptions of violence and attacks around the globe.

Francis has a second stop planned at the Ardeatine Caves, the site of one of the worst massacres of Nazi-occupied Rome.

AP

Press Association

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