Pope says he's thought about when it's time to 'take leave

"I am very anxious about the escalation of tensions in the Holy Land and the Middle East, and about the spiral of violence which moves us ever further away from the path of peace, dialogue and negotiation", he said during his weekly audience at the Vatican.

VATICAN CITY: on Wednesday condemned the killing of near the, saying the deaths would only lead to more violence, and appealed for dialogue to bring justice and peace to the Middle East.

On Monday, almost 60 Palestinians were killed at the border between Gaza and Israel in the bloodiest day of conflict in years, just as the United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem.

"War is called war, violence is called violence", he said.

The Holy Father called on all parties concerned and the worldwide community to renew their commitment to ensure that dialogue, justice and peace prevail. "May this special time of prayer and fasting help to walk the way of God which is the path of peace", he said. These words, the Pope said, remind us that we are not the light, but rather we are called to receive the light of Christ who has risen from the dead and overcome the shadows of evil. "As in a kind of vicious circle, we must condemn all forms of violence, any cynical use of human lives and disproportionate violence. Do not be dismayed, for the power of the Holy Spirit enables you to do this, and holiness, in the end, is the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life". The objective of the meeting is "to discern together, in the presence of God, the responsibility of all and each one in these devastating injuries, as well as to study appropriate and lasting changes that would prevent the repetition of these always reprehensible acts", the statement said.

The incident occurred during the protest that "greeted" the opening of the U.S embassy in Jerusalem, and has been tagged the bloodiest day in Gaza in several years. Palestinians seek Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as a future capital.

Israel has come under mounting worldwide pressure after its forces opened fire on the Gaza border on Monday, killing 60 protesters who had massed alongside the fence to protest as the United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, which includes Archbishop Pizzaballa and bishops of the Eastern Catholic churches in the region, reiterated the Catholic Church's position that moving the USA embassy and "any unilateral move or decision about the Holy City of Jerusalem doesn't contribute to advancing the long-awaited peace between Israelis and Palestinians".

Vanessa Coleman

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