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Work for Nuclear Disarmament

· The Pontiff speaks to reporters on flight to Santiago de Chile ·

In an international context in which a mistake could trigger a full fledged war, it is necessary to work for nuclear disarmament. Pope Francis stressed this on Monday morning, 15 January, in response to a reporter’s question put to him on the papal plane traveling to Santiago de Chile. The question was asked by one of the 70 journalists aboard the flight, after Vatican staff distributed a black and white photograph of two victims of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki in 1945. On the back, Pope Francis had written “the fruit of war”.

The image, published in the Osservatore Romano on 31 December, shows a young Japanese boy carrying on his shoulders his little dead brother. He is waiting in line to deliver the lifeless body to authorities for cremation. Pope Francis said that he had come across the photograph and, very moved, had wanted to share it because such an image “says more than a thousand words”.

Greeting the journalists at the start of this, his 22nd journey, the Pontiff noted that the duration of the flight, 15 hours and 40 minutes, allowed plenty of time for rest but also for work. Thanking the journalists for their work, he said the journey, which foresees three days in Chile and three days in Peru, will be a demanding one. He added that he is more familiar with Chile as he had once studied there for a year.

Before leaving Rome, the Pope posted from his Twitter account, @Pontifex, the request: “I ask you to accompany me on my journey to Chile and Peru in your prayers”.

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