Wars have driven world to 'precipice', Pope warns on Bahrain trip

© Yara Nardi, Reuters

Pope Francis on Friday appealed to religious leaders to help bring the world back from "the brink of a delicate precipice" and oppose a new race to rearm that he said was redesigning Cold War-era spheres of influence.

Francis spoke on his first full day in Bahrain as he closed a forum on East-West dialogue promoted by the king of the Gulf country where, unlike Saudi Arabia, Christians are allowed to practice their faith publicly in churches.

The visit continues the pope's policy of improving ties with the Islamic world following an historic visit to Abu Dhabi in 2019, the first by any pope to the Arabian peninsula. He has visited about 10 predominantly Muslim states since his election in 2013.

Francis, who suffers from a knee ailment that forces him to use a wheelchair and cane, wove his speech around the role of religions in promoting peace, disarmament and social justice.

"After two terrible world wars, a cold war that for decades kept the world in suspense, catastrophic conflicts taking place in every part of the globe, and in the midst of accusations, threats and condemnations, we continue to find ourselves on the brink of a delicate precipice and we do not want to fall," he said in a gleaming marble courtyard of the royal palace.

Apparently referring to Ukraine, Francis condemned a situation where "a few potentates are caught up in a resolute struggle for partisan interests, reviving obsolete rhetoric, redesigning spheres of influence and opposing blocs".

Religious cannot back war

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