Pope Francis has urged Catholics to take only one side in the conflict in the Middle East, the side of Peace. Describing the situation in Gaza as “Desperate”, Pope Francis warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe” at his general audience this week.

Pope Francis invited everyone to a day of prayer, fasting, and penance for peace. He encourages people of different Christian denominations, other religions and all those who advocate for peace to participate as they see fit on Friday October 27. The central event will be an hour of prayer at 6pm in St Peter’s Square, with the goal of invoking peace for the world. “I invite all the particular Churches to take part by organising similar initiatives which involve the people of God,” he concluded.

The Holy Father showed concern for the growing number of victims at the general audience in Rome on Wednesday. This week has seen American President Joe Biden travel to meet with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the killing of the Hamas security chief, The Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin meet with the Palestinian and Israeli Embassy’s in the Holy See and the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem offer himself up for the release of captives.

The Holy See’ English secretary for relations with states, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, put an emphasis on the need for trust saying:

“more work needs to be done to find a more political will” for Palestinians and Israelis to find a working compromise, adding, “I think most people agree, as experience tells us, that what is needed is the politics of small gestures, of confidence-building gestures, of gaining trust. What is missing in the world today between countries and leaders is trust, and we need to build it.

“At the moment I don’t think we have it and I think the international community needs to work on that.”