Pope Francis’ peace envoy, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, has called Hamas “the worst enemy of the Palestinian people.”

“We need a solution that guarantees the rights of the two sides; we really need an authoritative Palestinian leadership,” the bishop of Bologna and president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference said at the sidelines of a conference in northern Italy on Oct. 26.

According to a local Italian television station, Telenord, the cardinal said the root causes of the conflict in Israel and Palestine need to be solved: “There’s to be clarity, firmness, and no kind of indulgence toward violence, and then you have to understand the causes to resolve it.”

He said he appreciates Pope Francis’ references to a third world war being fought “in pieces,” in which stability is increasingly threatened. “Conflicts affect you even if they tend to seem to have nothing to do with you.”

Zuppi also recalled that the pope has asked for another day of prayer and fasting for peace on Oct. 27.

The Italian cardinal, who has been tasked by Pope Francis with attempting to broker peace between Ukraine and Russia, spoke on the morning of the last day of an Oct. 24–26 congress for Italy’s mayors, held in the city of Genoa.

On the sidelines of the conference, he also spoke about a situation closer to home, saying it “should scandalize us” that 6 million Italians are living in poverty.

Italy’s national institute of statistics reported Wednesday that in Italy over 2.18 million households, 8.3% of all families, were living in absolute poverty in 2022. This translates to 5.6 million individuals, the agency said.

The institute attributed the slight increase from 2021 to a strong acceleration in inflation.

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