Broken world needs Christian unity, pope tells Christian leaders

Pope Francis attended an encounter at the World Council of Churches’ ecumenical center in Geneva June 21.

GENEVA — Not only God, but today's broken, divided world is begging for unity among Christians, Pope Francis said on an ecumenical pilgrimage to Geneva.

"Our differences must not be excuses," he said, adding that as Christ's disciples, Christians can still pray together, evangelize and serve others.

At start of peace talks, pope calls for urgent end to violence in Syria

Men helped a wounded boy who survived what activists say was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus Jan. 7. In assessing the response to the world’s humanitarian crises in 2013, lawmakers and relief agency officials said the situation in Syria and conditions for those who have fled the war-torn nation remain dire.

VATICAN CITY -- As world leaders gathered in the hopes of finding a peaceful solution to Syria's three-year-long brutal conflict, Pope Francis asked that they spare no effort in bringing an end to the violence.

The pope also urged the people of Syria to rebuild their nation and see in the other "not an enemy, a rival, but a brother or sister to welcome and embrace."

The pope made the appeal at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square Jan. 22, the day a major peace summit, dubbed "Geneva II" began in Switzerland.

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