In his weekly Angelus address in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis broke script and begged for the fighting in the world's trouble spots to end, according to Reuters.
"Please stop! I ask you with all my heart, it's time to stop. Stop, please!"
The Argentina-born pope did not make any clear reference to Israel or Gaza but said his thoughts were on the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine. His speech also came moments after the failure of yet another humanitarian cease-fire. Originally, Hamas had accepted the temporary truce in light of the Muslim Eid festival, but neither side has stopped fighting.
Reuters reported the pope's "voice [appeared] to crack with emotion" prior to delivering the impromptu message of peace.
"Brothers and sisters, never war, never war! I am thinking about all of children, who are deprived of the hope of a worthwhile life, of a future," he said. "Dead children, injured children, mutilated children, orphaned children, children whose toys are things left over from war, children who can't smile anymore.”
The death toll has now surpassed 1,000 Palestinians and at least 42 Israelis, 206 of them children.
In May, Pope Francis made the annual papal tour of the Middle East and for the first time, the pope’s itinerary refered to the Palestinian territories as the “state of Palestine.” The pope did not visit Gaza during his trip.