Pope Francis Urges Disarmament Following Assassination of Haiti President

Pope Francis celebrates Mass on the occasion of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020. (Remo Casilli/Pool via AP)
Remo Casilli/Pool via AP

ROME — Pope Francis remembered the people of Haiti in prayer Sunday, urging that all “lay down weapons” following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.

“In recent days my prayer has often been aimed at Haiti, following the assassination of its President and the wounding of his wife,” the pontiff said after his weekly Angelus address, delivered from the Gemelli Hospital where he is recovering from surgery.

Uniting with the Haitian Catholic bishops, Francis issued a “heartfelt appeal” to “lay down weapons, choose life, choose to live together fraternally in the interest of all and in the interest of Haiti.”

“I am close to the beloved Haitian people,” he said. “I hope that the spiral of violence will cease and the nation can resume the journey toward a future of peace and harmony.”

On Thursday, the pope condemned the murder of Moïse, while offering his condolences to his widow and the people of Haiti.

“On hearing the news of the heinous assassination of His Excellency Mr Jovenel Moïse, President of Haiti, His Holiness Pope Francis offers his condolences to the Haitian people and to his wife, who was also seriously wounded, whose life he commends to God,” read a telegram prepared at the pope’s request by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

“Praying to the Father of Mercy for the repose of the soul of the deceased, the Holy Father expresses his sadness and condemns all forms of violence as a means of resolving crises and conflicts,” the telegram stated.

“He wishes for the dear Haitian people a future of fraternal harmony, solidarity and prosperity,” it added. “As a pledge of comfort he invokes the abundance of divine blessings on Haiti and all its inhabitants.”

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