Pope Francis: The world is facing a piecemeal World War III

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Pope Francis said today that the various conflicts around the world amount to a “piecemeal” World War III.

The pope was speaking at a mass at a World War I memorial in Italy’s Fogliano di Redipuglia, where some 100,000 Italian soldiers died during the country’s fascist era.

“Here lie many victims. Today, we remember them. There are tears, there is sadness. From this place we remember all the victims of every war. Today, too, the victims are many,” he said.

He warned that WWIII is being “fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction”, adding that “war is madness”.

Palestinians stand next to a crater which police said was caused by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City (photo: Reuters)

“War is irrational; its only plan is to bring destruction: it seeks to grow by destroying,” he said. “Greed, intolerance, the lust for power. These motives underlie the decision to go to war and they are too often justified by an ideology.”

“How is this possible? It is so because in today’s world, behind the scenes, there are interests, geopolitical strategies, lust for money and power, and there is the manufacture and sale of arms, which seem to be so important,” he continued.

A pro-Russian separatist guarding a checkpoint in the city of Luhansk, Ukraine (photo: nbcnews)

“And these plotters of terrorism, these schemers of conflicts, just like arms dealers, have engraved in their hearts, ‘What does it matter to me?’”

Children stand next to a burned-out vehicle during clashes between Iraqi forces and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on 10 June (photo: Reuters)