In Easter address, Pope calls wars in pandemic ‘scandalous’ –

In Easter address, Pope calls wars in pandemic ‘scandalous’

“Everyone, especially the most vulnerable among us, requires assistance and has the right to access necessary care.” said the pontiff.

He sounded a note of outrage at the beginning of his speech, denouncing that there has been no shortage of wars and conflicts during the world’s worst health crisis in a century.

“The pandemic is still spreading, while the social and economic crisis remains severe, especially for the poor. However, and this is scandalous, the armed conflicts are not over and the military arsenals are getting stronger, ”Francis said, sounding angry. “That is the scandal today.”

The pontiff prayed that public authorities would ensure that those in need of assistance had a “decent standard of living.” Unfortunately, the pandemic has drastically increased the number of poor and the despair of thousands of people ”.

He lamented the plight of people affected by war and other conflicts, citing Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world and which has been rocked by violent protests and political strife, including an alleged coup. Francisco urged Haitians “not to be overwhelmed by difficulties, but to look to the future with confidence and hope.”

Francis offered encouragement to young people in Myanmar who are “committed to supporting democracy and making their voices heard peacefully.” Protesters in Myanmar took to the streets with painted eggs in reference to Easter. Myanmar’s military has violently tried to quell opponents of the February 1 coup that toppled a democratically elected government.

Francis thanked Lebanon and Jordan for hosting refugees from the war in Syria, and prayed that peace will eventually reach “millions of people living in inhumane conditions.” He also prayed for an end to the conflicts in Yemen and Libya.

Citing the suffering of the people in Africa, he condemned “internal violence and international terrorism, especially in the Sahel and Nigeria.” Other problem areas he mentioned were Tigray province in Ethiopia and Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique, which has been bloodied from days of clashes with rebels for control of a city.

Francis prayed for the safe return home of prisoners from long conflicts in Europe, eastern Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabkh.

Earlier in the day, Francis celebrated Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, where the faithful in the pews numbered just 200 according to pandemic protocols, compared to the usual thousands.

Normally, Francis would give his Easter address on world affairs which is delivered from the central balcony of the basilica overlooking St. Peter’s Square. Instead, for the second Easter in a row, he read it indoors to discourage crowds from gathering.

“Dear brothers and sisters, once again this year, in various places, many Christians have celebrated Easter under severe restrictions and, at times, unable to attend liturgical celebrations,” Francis said, before offering a special apostolic blessing to the faithful from all over the world.

“We pray that those restrictions, as well as all restrictions on freedom of worship and religion around the world, can be lifted and that everyone can pray and praise God freely,” the pontiff said.

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