Amidst rising tensions around the world, Pope Francis urges world leaders to unite and prevent the spread of conflicts.
ITALY, VATICAN CITY – In times of rising tensions around the world, Pope Francis in his Easter message called for restraint, urging world leaders to unite and prevent the spread of such conflicts.
As he marks the fifth Easter season of his pontificate, Pope Francis stressed on the need for unity and understanding.
In light of the recent terrorist attacks in London, Stockholm, and Egypt, Pope Francis addressed tens of thousands of people amid exceptionally tight security in St Peter’s Square.
The speech was delivered from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica, the same balcony where Pope Francis first appeared to the world in 2013, on the night of his election. The square was decorated with 35,000 flowers and trees in lieu of Easter. The famous Vatican area was heavily guarded, and there were several police vans and army vehicles around the area. Anyone entering the area was also stopped at checkpoints.
As he delivered his Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) message, Pope Francis reminds the crowd that God walks “beside all those forced to leave their homelands as a result of armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, famine and oppressive regimes”. He also mentioned the recent bomb blast in Syria that killed more than 112 people who were involved in a bus convoy outside Aleppo. He called the bombing an “ignoble” attack, and asked God to bring healing and comfort to “beloved and martyred Syria”.
Pope Francis also spoke of the dire situation in South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ukraine. He called for peace, and throughout his Holy Week services, he has repeatedly been drawing attention to the plight of war victims around the world. He also highlighted the sufferings of refugees and migrants, warning against the state of becoming immune to the violence happening around the world, calling it the “shame” of humanity.
There was a short downpour in the middle of mass, but it passed quickly, and Pope Francis later rode around in an open Popemobile to allow worshippers at the back of the crowd to catch a glimpse of him as well.