(TStarnes) – Pope Francis warned of World War III Thursday while speaking to leaders in the Catholic Church.

The Holy See celebrated that people are gathering together once again after COVID lockdowns.

“The tempest of the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed various limitations on our daily lives and our pastoral activities, now it seems that the worst is over, and thanks be to God, we can meet again,” the pope said

On the flip side, he delivered rather dire words concerning the world.

“Europe and the entire world are convulsed by a war of particular gravity, in terms of the violation of international law, the risks of nuclear escalation, and the grave economic and social consequences,” Pope Francis continued. “It is a ‘piecemeal’ third world war, to which you bear witness in the places where you carry out your mission.”

This has not been the first time Pope Francis has likened our current culture to a third World War. Back in June the Pope told editors of the news outlet La Civilta Cattolica “A few years ago, it occurred to me to say that we are experiencing a third World War fought piecemeal, today, for me, World War III has been declared.”

The pope attributes his beliefs back to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which took place at the end of February. Francis says, “this was either provoked or not-prevented”.