Pope prays for nuclear disarmament

MILAN, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Sunday called on world leaders to work in favor of nuclear disarmament to protect human rights, particularly those of weaker and underprivileged people.

The pontiff said that there was a need to "work with determination to build a world without nuclear weapons," speaking from the window of the papal apartment overlooking St. Peter's Square and citing his 2015 encyclical letter Laudato Si (Praised Be).

His remarks came on the day that the group which won this year's Nobel Peace Prize urged nuclear nations to adopt a U.N. treaty banning atomic weapons.

With rising tensions between the United States and North Korea, the pope has repeatedly warned against the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental effects of nuclear devices and has called for a third country to mediate the dispute.

RELATED: 10 of Pope Francis’s most provocative quotes

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10 of Pope Francis’s most provocative quotes
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10 of Pope Francis’s most provocative quotes

"Hatred is not to be carried in the name of God! War is not to be waged in the name of God!"

October 8, 2014, St. Peter’s Square

(Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

"Women in the church are more important than bishops and priests."

June 28, 2013, on a flight to Rome

(Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

"Some think, excuse me if I use the word, that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits — but no."

January 19, 2015, on a flight to Rome

(Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

"I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful ... I see the church as a field hospital after battle."

September 30, 2013, interview, America magazine

 (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

"I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God, there is God and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation."

October 1, 2013, interview, La Repubblica newspaper

(Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

"Men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption: it is the ‘culture of waste.’ If a computer breaks it is a tragedy, but poverty, the needs and dramas of so many people end up being considered normal."

June 5, 2013, St. Peter’s Square

(Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

"Perhaps you were mad, perhaps plates flew, but please remember this: never let the sun go down without making peace! Never, never, never!"

February 14, 2014, St. Peter’s Square

(Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

"Do you open your hearts to the memories that your grandparents pass on? Grandparents are like the wisdom of the family, they are the wisdom of a people."

October 26, 2013, St. Peter’s Square

(Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

"True love is both loving and letting oneself be loved. It is harder to let ourselves be loved than it is to love." 

January 18, 2015, Manila, Philippines

(MARCELLO PATERNOSTRO/AFP/Getty Images)

"Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads ... to those who have quit or are indifferent."

September 30, 2013, interview, America magazine

(REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini)
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At his weekly Angelus prayer, Pope Francis added that men and women in the world had "the liberty, the intelligence and the capacity to guide technology, limit their power, at the service of peace and true progress."

Speaking aboard the plane back from his trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh, the pope suggested that some world leaders had an "irrational" attitude towards nuclear weapons.

Last month he appeared to harden the Catholic Church's teaching against nuclear weapons, saying countries should not stockpile them, even for the purpose of deterrence.

Pope Francis, a strong defender of environmental protection, also hoped that an upcoming Paris summit would adopt "efficient decisions" to contrast climate change. (Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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