ROME (JTA) – Expressing trepidation and urging prayers for peace, Pope Francis appealed for “moderation and dialogue” in the wake of recent violence in Jerusalem centring on the Temple Mount.
Addressing crowds who braved fierce heat to gather for his Sunday Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square, the pope said he was “following with trepidation the grave tensions and violence of the last days in Jerusalem.”
On Friday, a 19-year-old Palestinian stabbed to death three members of one family as they sat at their Shabbat table in the West Bank settlement of Halamish. On July 14, Arab gunmen at the Temple Mount – a site holy to Jews and Muslims – shot dead two Israeli policemen. The Israel government’s decision to place metal detectors at the entrance to the site in response sparked clashes that left three dead and scores injured.
“I feel the need to express a heartfelt appeal for moderation and dialogue,” Francis said. He invited the faithful to join with him in prayer “so that the Lord may inspire all involved with proposals for reconciliation and peace.”