Pope Francis once again condemned Russia’s war on Ukraine Sunday, decrying the daily toll of “slaughter and atrocities.”

Employing his strongest language to date, the pontiff lamented to the crowds gathered in Saint Peter’s Square that “the violent aggression against Ukraine does not stop, a senseless massacre where every day there is a repetition of slaughter and atrocities.”

“There is no justification for this!” he continued. “I plead with all those involved in the international community to truly commit to ending this abhorrent war.”

The pope went on to enumerate the barbarities being carried out, calling the Russian aggression against Ukraine an “inhuman and sacrilegious cruelty.”

“This week again missiles and bombs have fallen on civilians, the elderly, children, and pregnant mothers,” he said. “I went to see the wounded children who are here in Rome. One was missing an arm; one had a head injury… innocent children.”

Francis went on to speak of the “millions of Ukrainian refugees” fleeing their homeland as well as those trapped with no way to escape the bombardment.

“So many grandparents, sick and poor people separated from their own families, so many children and fragile people are left to die under the bombs without being able to receive help and find safety even in the air raid shelters. All this is inhuman!” he said.

“Indeed, it is also sacrilegious because it goes against the sacredness of human life, especially against defenseless human life, which must be respected and protected, not eliminated, and this comes before any strategy!” he said.

“Let us not forget it is inhuman and sacrilegious cruelty!” he repeated.

The pope also thanked the many bishops, priests, and pastors who have remained close to their people in Ukraine to care for them materially and spiritually, bearing witness to “the Gospel of charity and fraternity.”

Francis said he feels personally close to “the martyred Ukrainian people,” while urging all Christians to pray for them daily and to do all in their power to care for them and protect them.

“I invite every community and all the faithful to unite with me on Friday 25 March, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, for the Solemn Act of Consecration of humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that she, the Queen of Peace, may help us obtain peace,” he concluded.

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