Pope 'very worried' by Gaza violence

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POPE FRANCIS " I am very anxious and hurt by the escalation of tensions in the Holy Land and the Middle East and for the spiral of violence that is increasingly moving away from the path of peace, dialogue and negotiations.

"It's a decisive move, a move that reaches the heart, it's also a move that shows us the pathway for every bishop when it's time to take his leave and step down", Francis said, according to Vatican News, although a full transcript was not available. "War begets war and violence begets violence".

As the world witnesses "another outburst of hatred and violence, which is once again bleeding all over the Holy Land", the head of Jerusalem's Latin Patriarchate called for prayers for peace.

Pope Francis asked all parties involved in the conflict and the whole global community to renew their promise so that dialogue, justice and peace takes precedence.

More than 60 Palestinians have been killed - many by Israeli live fire - in the last two days amid violent demonstrations over the opening of a new USA embassy in Jerusalem.

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If we are clothed in Christ, St Paul reminded the early believers in his letter to the Colossians, we must take on the virtues of "compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience".

In his catechesis for the weekly audience, Pope Francis concluded his commentary on the sacrament of baptism with reflections on the symbolism of the white garment and baptismal candle. He also explained the meaning of the baptismal candle, lit from the Paschal candle.

However, the Chilean media have reported that Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, retired archbishop of Santiago and a member of Pope Francis' global Council of Cardinals, will not attend.

"To always walk as children of light, persevering in faith", as it says in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, is the Christian vocation, the Pope said.

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