Pope Francis has announced that the world is pretty much in the grips of its third world war. The leader of the Roman Catholic Church said the spate of conflicts being fought around the world were effectively a "piecemeal" third world war. Speaking at a World War I memorial in Italy, the Pontiff stated: "War is madness. Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war - one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres and destruction." He added: "War is irrational. Its only plan is to bring destruction. It seeks to grow by destroying." He said the motives behind countries or groups going to war were "greed, intolerance, the lust for power".
Pope Francis has made a number of repeated appeals for an end to the conflicts around the world. He has focused on those in Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and many parts of Africa. Despite his anti-war stance, he has stated the use of force would be legitimate to stop "unjust aggression" by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He called on all people to have a "conversion of heart" and stop putting selfish aims above those of humanity as a whole. Francis compared the pointless loss of life in WWI to what is happening globally today. He said: "For each one of the fallen of this senseless massacre, for all the victims of the mindless wars, in every age, humanity needs to weep, and this is the time to weep."