Pope Francis makes Easter Sunday plea for peace in Ukraine, citing nuclear danger
“May there be peace for war-torn Ukraine, which has been tested so much by the violence and devastation of this cruel and senseless war that it has been dragged into,” Francis said, speaking from the committee. central public of St. Peter.
The Pope just finished celebrating Easter Mass in a square packed with the faithful for the first time since the pandemic began in early 2020. Applause broke out from so many of the crowds, wishing The Vatican’s count reached 100,000 people in the square and on a nearby avenue, as he mentioned Ukraine.
“Please, please, leave us unaccustomed to war,” pleaded Pope Francis, after denouncing “the flexion of muscles while people are suffering. Again, however, the Pope did not invoke Russian President Vladimir Putin for his decision to launch the invasion and attacks against Ukraine on February 24.
The pope said: “The hearts of the people are filled with “fear and suffering, because so many of our brothers and sisters have had to lock themselves up to be safe from bombing”.
“Let us all pledge to pray for peace, from our balconies and on our streets,” Pope Francis said.
In a clear reference to the threat of nuclear war, Francis quoted from a prominent statement in 1955: “‘Are we going to put an end to humanity, or will humanity give up war? ?'”
He quoted from a manifesto written by the philosopher Bertrand Russell and the physicist Albert Einstein. The text of the manifesto, which sounded like a grim warning of the consequences of nuclear war, was released months after Einstein’s death.
Meanwhile, in Britain, the leader of the Anglican church, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, has called on Russia to declare a ceasefire and withdraw from Ukraine.
Note that at the Eastern Orthodox church, followed by many in Russia and Ukraine Sunday marks the start of Holy Week – with Easter coming on April 24 – Welby has called on Russia to withdraw Ukraine and committed to negotiations.
Francis also drew attention to other wars in a speech known as the Latin “Urbi et Orbi” – to the city and to the world.
“May the conflict in Europe also make us more concerned with other situations of conflict, suffering and grief, situations that affect so many regions of our world, situations that we cannot ignore and do not want to forget,” Pope Francis said.
Two days after Palestinians and Israeli police clashed in Jerusalem, Pope Francis prayed that “Israelis, Palestinians and all residents of the Holy City, along with pilgrims, experience the beauty of peace , of living in brotherhood and of going to the Holy Sites” in reciprocal respect. .
He called for peace and reconciliation for the peoples of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Libya.
Francis spoke of Yemen reproachfully, “which suffers from a conflict forgotten by all, with constant victims.” He expressed hope that a recent truce would restore hope to the people of this country.
He also prayed that God grant “reconciliation to Myanmar, where a dramatic scenario of hatred and violence persists,” and to Afghanistan, which is suffering from a humanitarian crisis, including a state of affairs. lack of food.
Pope Francis denounced exploitation of the African continent and “terrorist attacks – especially in the Sahel region,” as well as the humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia and violence in the Congo.
In Latin America, many have seen their plight worsen during the coronavirus pandemic, exacerbated by social problems caused by corruption, violence and drug trafficking, the pope said.
But Francis found hope in the “open doors of all the families and communities that are welcoming migrants and refugees across Europe, to mention the approximately 10 million who have already left Ukraine.” or displaced within the country because of the war.
At the Polish border post of Medyka, a medical officer from Warsaw helped prepare a traditional Easter breakfast of ham, cheese and Easter cake for some of the newest refugees from Ukraine, the part Most of them went to neighboring Poland.
Volunteer Agnieszka Kuszaj said: “They lost their homes. They are looking for refuge in our country.” She hopes that the meal will help them “forget for a moment about all the terrible things” that happened.
Maria Dontsova, 31, from Kharviv, a heavily bombed city in eastern Ukraine, said: “I wish peace to all the families who are suffering in Ukraine on this great Easter holiday. ” Speaking in English, she expressed hope that the war would end “as soon as possible, and people stop suffering, and we can stop the war from spreading to Europe”.
Earlier, the pope, who has a knee ligament problem, limped as he walked to an altar set up in front of St Peter’s Basilica. After Easter morning Mass, Pope Francis boarded a white car to cycle through the square amid cheering crowds.
In Spain, secular believers and enthusiasts have flocked back in large numbers to participate in Holy Week processions this week for the first time since the start of the pandemic after most Health restrictions are lifted.
Jill Lawless of London, Joseph Wilson of Barcelona and Srdjan Nedeljkovic of Medyka, Poland, contributed.
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