Pope Francis delivers plea for peace in first Easter sermon

Rome. Pope Francis has delivered a passionate plea for peace in his first Easter Sunday message since being elected.
 A view of crowds as Pope Francis appears prior to delivering his first ‘Urbi et Orbi’ blessing from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica during Easter Mass yesterday in Vatican C....
A view of crowds as Pope Francis appears prior to delivering his first ‘Urbi et Orbi’ blessing from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica during Easter Mass yesterday in Vatican C....

Rome. Pope Francis has delivered a passionate plea for peace in his first Easter Sunday message since being elected.

Francis used his Urbi et Orbi address to call for peace in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and across the globe. He singled out “dear Syria”, saying: “How much blood has been shed! And how much suffering must there still be before a political solution is found?”

‘Divided by greed’

Pope Francis, formerly Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was elected on 13 March, becoming the first non-European pope for almost 1,300 years.

He replaced Benedict XVI, who held the office for eight years and became the first pontiff in more than 700 years to resign, citing ill health due to age.

In his Urbi et Orbi (To the city and the world) speech, Pope Francis began with a simple “Happy Easter!”

The 76-year-old Pope, who has begun his tenure by emphasising humility, went on: “Christ has risen! What a joy it is for me to announce this message. I would like it to go out to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons.”

Later in his speech, Pope Francis said: “We ask the risen Jesus, who turns death into life, to change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace.”

The Pope then mentioned troubled regions of the world in turn.

“Peace for the Middle East, and particularly between Israelis and Palestinians, who struggle to find the road of agreement, that they may willingly and courageously resume negotiations to end a conflict that has lasted all too long. Peace in Iraq, that every act of violence may end, and above all for dear Syria, its people torn by conflict and for the many refugees awaiting help and comfort.”

For Africa, the Pope referred to Mali, Nigeria— where attacks sadly continue”—the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

He added: “Peace in Asia, above all on the Korean peninsula: may disagreements be overcome and a renewed spirit of reconciliation grow.”

Pope Francis concluded by saying: “Peace in the whole world, still divided by greed looking for easy gain, wounded by the selfishness which threatens human life and the family, selfishness that continues in human trafficking, the most extensive form of slavery in this 21st Century.”

Agencies

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