Pope pleads for peace, end to starvation, help for needy
VATICAN CITY — Marking Christianity's most hopeful day, Pope Francis made an Easter Sunday plea for peace and dialogue in Ukraine and Syria, for an end to terrorist attacks against Christians in Nigeria, and for more attention to the hungry and neediest close to home.
More than 150,000 tourists — Romans and pilgrims, young and old — turned out for the Mass that Francis celebrated at an altar set up under a canopy on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica.
So great were their numbers that they overflowed from sprawling St. Peter's Square, which was bedecked with row after row of potted daffodils, sprays of blue hyacinths and bunches of white roses. Waving flags from the pope's native Argentina as well as from Brazil, Mexico, Britain, Poland and many other countries, they filled the broad boulevard leading from the square to the Tiber River.
Easter is the culmination of Holy Week and marks Christian belief that Jesus rose from the dead after his crucifixion.
Francis noted that this year the Catholic Church's celebration of Easter coincided with that of Orthodox churches, which have many followers in Ukraine.
Francis prayed that God would “enlighten and inspire the initiatives that promote peace in Ukraine, so that all those involved, with the support of the international community, will make every effort to prevent violence.”
Francis also prayed that all sides in Syria will be moved to “boldly negotiate the peace long awaited and long overdue.” Syria has been wracked by a three-year civil war that has cost 150,000 lives and forced millions to flee the country.
Christians compose about 5 percent of Syria's population. In comments to mark Easter there, the Greek Orthodox patriarch vowed that Christians there “will not submit” to extremists who attack “our people and holy places.”
Francis makes a pilgrimage to Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Israel next month, so on Easter, he prayed that hopes sparked by the resumption of peace negotiations will be sustained.
Francis spoke of those suffering in Africa from an epidemic of deadly Ebola and urged a halt to “brutal terrorist attacks” in parts of Nigeria.
Nigerians marked Easter with heightened security against a spreading Islamic uprising, mourning the deaths of 75 bombing victims and fearful of the fate of 85 abducted schoolgirls. The homegrown terror network Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for last week's rush-hour explosion in the capital, Abuja, and threatened more attacks.
In Venezuela, there have been hopes Vatican mediation can help end the country's violent political unrest, and Francis urged that “hearts be turned to reconciliation and fraternal concord” there.
Francis' Easter message urged people to pay attention to the needy close to home. He said the “good news” of Easter's joy means “leaving ourselves behind and encountering others, being close to those crushed by life's troubles, sharing with the needy, standing at the side of the sick, elderly and the outcast.”
He denounced the ‘‘scourge of hunger,” which he said was ‘‘aggravated by conflicts and by the immense wastefulness for which we are often responsible.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Israel OKs Jewish homeland legislation
- Putin says he won’t be Russia’s president for life
- 5 terror plots foiled, London police say
- Afghan parliament approves U.S., NATO agreements
- Suicide blast kills 45 at Afghan volleyball tournament
- U.S. proposes extending talks with Iran as pessimism about nuclear deal grows
- 100 terrorists killed in Kenya retaliation act
- Moscow on slippery slope with Ukraine fighting, Merkel warns
- Smasher yields 1st look at new particles
- Israeli mayor suspends jobs of some Arabs, citing synagogue attack
- Chinese state media give profs a chilling warning