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‘Hope and dignity’: Pope calls for peace in Easter message

Pope Francis delivers the Urbi et Orbi (to the city and to the world) blessing at the end of the Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, April 1, 2018. (Vatican Media via AP)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — On Christianity’s most joyful day, Pope Francis called for peace in a world marked by war and conflict, “beginning with the beloved and long-suffering land of Syria” and extending to Israel, where 15 Palestinians were killed on the Israeli-Gaza border two days before Easter Sunday.

Francis reflected on the power of Christianity’s core belief — that Jesus rose from the dead after crucifixion — in his formal “Urbi et Orbi” Easter message delivered from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to a packed square of some 80,000 faithful below.

The pontiff said the message of the resurrection offers hope in a world “marked by so many acts of injustice and violence,” including parts of Africa affected by “hunger, endemic conflicts and terrorism.”

“It bears fruits of hope and dignity where there are deprivation and exclusion, hunger and unemployment; where there are migrants and refugees, so often rejected by today’s culture of waste, and victims of the drug trade, human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery,” the pope said.

Pope Francis delivers his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and to the world) message from the main balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on April 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Francis called for a “swift end” to the seven years of carnage in Syria, demanding that aid be delivered to the war-torn country’s needy and calling for “fitting conditions for the returned and the displaced.”

The pope also urged reconciliation in Israel, a place “experiencing in these days the wounds of ongoing conflict that do not spare the defenseless.” His remarks followed the Friday deaths of Palestinian protesters who charged toward Gaza’s border with Israel, the area’s deadliest violence in four years.

Turning to Asia, Francis expressed hope that talks underway could bring peace to the Korean Peninsula, urging “those who are directly responsible act with wisdom and discernment to promote the good of the Korean people.”

The pope also urged more steps to bring harmony to divided Ukraine, called for peace in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo and appealed for the world not to forget victims of conflict, especially children.

“May there be no lack of solidarity with all those forced to leave their native lands and lacking the bare essentials for living,” said Francis, who has often championed the cause of migrants and refugees.

The church’s first pontiff from Latin America cited in particular the problems in Venezuela. He said he hoped the country would “find a just, peaceful and humane way to surmount quickly the political and humanitarian crises that grip it.”

Earlier, tens of thousands of faithful underwent heavy security checks to enter St. Peter’s Square to participate in Easter Sunday Mass celebrated by the pope, followed by his “Urbi et Orbi” message (“to the city and the world”).

Security precautions included bag checks and metal detector wands for everyone entering the square, while the main avenue leading to the Vatican, as well as smaller adjoining streets, were closed to traffic.

Francis opened Easter festivities with a tweet to his global flock: “Our faith is born on Easter morning: Jesus is alive! The experience is at the heart of the Christian message.”
Elsewhere, hundreds of Christians marked Easter by flocking to Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on the site where they believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

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The Associated Press

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  • Pope Francis on Easter day: “May there be no lack of solidarity with all those forced to leave their native lands and lacking the bare essentials for living.”

    The president of the U.S. on Easter Day (with a majority of white U.S. Christians having placed him in the White House): “NO MORE DACA DEAL!” And: “These big flows of people are all trying to take advantage of DACA. They want in on the act!”

    Jesus on Easter and every other day: “I was a stranger, and you took Me in.”

    Put the three statements side by side, and something seems . . . awry . . . in many white U.S. Christians’ understanding of Jesus and his message.

  • sad that the pope makes me think of this…..aside from it being Easter, its also April 1st – National Atheist Day.

  • If you are looking at Christians to assure yourself that Christianity is worthwhile, you’ll never decide that it is. You need to look to Christ to decide if Christianity is worthwhile. People will always let you down. Christ won’t.

  • “…. appealed for the world not to forget victims of conflict, ESPECIALLY CHILDREN. “……………….(emphasis added)

    The RCC – the world’s most corrupt institution – that humanity has ever been cursed with….

  • “The state of American Christianity today.” Yep. I hear you.

    Indeed, this very week, a certain Mr. Francis, the leader of all the Catholic Christians in America and the world, handed all you atheists a nice shiny “Get-Out-Of-Hell-Free-Because-Hell-Doesn’t-Exist-Anyway” card.

    That’s universalism on Steroids, and an amazing public negation of Jesus’ own words. What more could you atheists ask the Easter Bunny for?

    T

  • Only God’s kingdom or heavenly government (Matthew 4:17) will soon bring true peace and security to all mankind on earth (Micah 4:3,4).

    That will be accomplished after it replaces all human governments (Daniel 2:44) and starts it millennial rule (Isaiah 11:1-5) by its King, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6,7), and God’s son, Christ Jesus (Matthew 3:16, 17).

    It will also put an end to all sickness, disease, old age and death of humans on earth (Revelation 21:3,4) through its rule and the ransom sacrifice of Jesus (Matthew 20:28)!! ????

  • Sandi Luckins, you are a lecherous old cougar and despicable bigot. Now you are even trying to get a leg up on poor little floyd.

  • Fran, I’ll see you in the rapture capsule with the unicorns. Don’t forget to wear your nose ring -the big steel one that I padlocked the chain onto when we were practicing for the Uplifting.

  • Discussions here can often be fascinating. It’s fascinating to hear the very same folks who cannot shout loudly enough that LGBTQ people can’t possibly be considered representatives of Christianity turn around and claim that, for everyone else, how Christians behave is not a criterion for judging Christianity and Christian churches.

    Obviously, some folks imagine they own Christianity and speak for it — and it’s only others who should be judged and found wanting. By them. As the obvious and rightful owners of the Christian message.

    Even though they show very little understanding of what that message is all about, of the command Jesus gives to his followers to treat the least among us — including the stranger in the land (and LGBTQ people, by inference) — with respect. Of the statement of Jesus that we’ll be judged at the end of our lives according to how we’ve behaved towards t he least among us.

    And of his statement that his followers will be known by the love they show one another.

    The perversion of Jesus and his message by a certain strand of U.S. Christianity that finds nothing at all to lament — only much to celebrate — in their president’s immigrant-bashing on Easter day: historians will one day talk about that perversion of the Christian message alongside discussions of the mass murder of the Jewish people in Christian countries in the 20th century, the longstanding practice of slavery (and the defense of slavery) by Christians, the ruthless treatment of the native peoples of the new world by Christian Europeans, the Inquisition, the burning of “witches” and “heretics,” the long and ugly history of Christian-inspired pograms targeting Jewish people, the “holy wars” against Islamic peoples, and so on.

  • Resurrection ignites hope in situations that seem hopeless. Thus explained Pope Francis the benefits that Easter bestows on weary people on life’s journey: “It bears fruits of hope and dignity where there are deprivation and exclusion, hunger and unemployment; where there are migrants and refugees, so often rejected by today’s culture of waste, and victims of the drug trade, human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery,”

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