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Pope Francis pleads for peace in Easter message

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This photograph taken and handout on March 31, 2024 by The Vatican Media exhibits Pope Francis throughout the Easter ‘Urbi et Orbi’ message and blessing to the City and the World from the central loggia of St Peter’s basilica in The Vatican.
| Photo Credit: AFP

Pope Francis urged the world to withstand “the logic of weapons” in his Easter message on the Vatican on March 31, easing rising well being fears as he greeted hundreds of Catholics.

The 87-year-old’s “Urbi et Orbi” (To the City and the World) blessing got here after he led Easter Mass in entrance of 60,000 worshippers at Saint Peter’s Square whereas showing in good spirits.

In his conventional speech broadcasted worldwide, Francis condemned conflict as “always an absurdity and a defeat”, elevating conflicts in Ukraine, Gaza, Sudan, Myanmar and past.

He renewed appeals for a ceasefire in Gaza, calling for larger help deliveries to the devastated territory and the discharge of hostages taken by Hamas throughout its unprecedented October 7 assault on Israel that sparked the conflict.

The civilian inhabitants is “now at the limit of its endurance”, he mentioned, lamenting the influence on youngsters particularly.

“Let us not allow the strengthening winds of war to blow on Europe and the Mediterranean. Let us not yield to the logic of weapons and rearming,” he added.

The pope prposed a “general exchange of all prisoners between Russia and Ukraine” because the conflict between the 2 nations grinds by means of its third yr.

Francis additionally urged world leaders to “spare no efforts in combatting the scourge of human trafficking” to free its victims.

Moments earlier than the blessing, Francis handed by means of the adoring crowd on his “popemobile” as pilgrims shouted “Long live the pope!”, waved flags and strained to take footage.

Health issues

Easter Sunday marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ and is the end result of Holy Week, a serious a part of the Catholic calendar adopted by 1.3 billion individuals.

The pope on Saturday presided over the Easter Vigil on the Vatican in entrance of some 6,000 individuals from all over the world, a day after his last-minute cancellation at a serious Good Friday procession revived questions on his well being.

He delivered a 10-minute homily in Italian, talking with none undue problem and condemning “the walls of selfishness and indifference” on this planet.

At the tip of the two-and-a-half-hour service he confirmed little signal of fatigue, taking time to greet and bless a number of the worshippers.

In a quick assertion Friday, the Vatican had mentioned that “to preserve his health ahead of tomorrow’s vigil and the Easter Sunday mass, Pope Francis will this evening follow the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum from the Santa Marta Residence”, the place he lives.

The last-minute determination raised questions on how lengthy Francis can proceed to steer the Catholic Church.

A Vatican supply instructed AFP on Friday there was “no particular concern” about his well being and the choice to tug out had been “simply a measure of caution”.

The Argentinian Jesuit had additionally cancelled his participation within the “Via Crucis” in 2023, however that adopted a three-day hospital keep for bronchitis, and was introduced properly forward of time. Weeks later, he underwent a hernia operation.

Up till Friday, the pope had attended his numerous engagements all through the week, however he not too long ago appeared drained and has typically delegated talking roles to colleagues.

No plans to resign

Francis, who by no means takes holidays, made his final journey in September, to the southern French metropolis of Marseille. In December, he cancelled a much-anticipated attendance on the COP28 local weather summit in Dubai.

His subsequent scheduled journey is to Venice on April 28. The Vatican has not but confirmed a deliberate journey to Asia and Pacific Ocean nations for this summer time.

Francis has beforehand left the door open to stepping down if he can now not do the job. That would comply with the instance of his fast predecessor, Benedict XVI, who in 2013 grew to become the primary pope for the reason that Middle Ages to voluntarily step apart.

But in a memoir printed this month, Francis wrote that he did “not have any cause serious enough to make me think of resigning”.

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