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Pope Francis signs off 2017 with poignant warning

AGENCIES
Published : Jan 1, 2018, 4:27 am IST
Updated : Jan 1, 2018, 4:35 am IST

The photo captures a boy carrying his dead brother on his shoulders while waiting for his turn at a crematory.

The photo circulated by Pope Francis over the 2017 holidays. (Photo: Vatican Press Office)
 The photo circulated by Pope Francis over the 2017 holidays. (Photo: Vatican Press Office)

Vatican, Rome: Pope Francis is having cards printed and distributed showing a 1945 photo of victims of the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki along with the words “the fruit of war.”

The photo captures a boy carrying his dead brother on his shoulders while he waits for his turn at a crematory. It was taken by US Marine photographer Joe O’Donnell shortly after the US dropped atomic bombs on Japan.

The leader of the world’s Roman Catholics asked that “the fruit of war” be written in the back of the card along with his signature, “Franciscus.”

A short caption explains the content and origin of the photo, it reads in part: “The young boy’s sadness is expressed only in his gesture of biting his lips which are oozing blood.”

The gesture is consistent with Pope Francis’s effort since his election to speak out against what he describes as a “Third World War” being fought in piecemeal fashion in various parts of the world. The pontiff has also spoken about the disproportionate suffering children often experience in conflicts, including the risk of being enrolled as child soldiers.

The gesture with the photo of Nagasaki also comes at the close of a year in which the threat of nuclear conflict once again had the world on edge, in light of North Korea’s threat to use nuclear weapons, and US President Donald Trump’s vow that America would unleash “fire and fury” should that happen.

Tags: pope francis, donald trump, nuclear weapons