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Pope pleads for peace in Ukraine in Easter address, cites “worrying” risk of nuclear war – National

On Easter Sunday, Pope Francis made a painful plea for peace in the “pointless” war in Ukraine and other raging armed conflicts around the world, citing the “worrying” threat of nuclear war.

“May there be peace for war-torn Ukraine, so tried by the violence and destruction of this cruel and senseless war into which it has been drawn,” said Pope Francis, speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Square .

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The Pope had just finished Easter Mass in the square, which was crowded with believers for the first time since the pandemic began in early 2020. Applause erupted from many of the 50,000 people in the square and in a nearby avenue when he mentioned Ukraine.

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Worshipers gather to attend the Catholic Easter Sunday Mass led by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Sunday, April 17, 2022.

AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

“Please, please let’s not get used to war,” Francis implored after denouncing “flexing muscles while people suffer.” Once again, the Pope condemned the war in Ukraine without citing Russian President Vladimir Putin for the decision to launch the February 24 invasion and attack on Ukraine.

“Let us all commit ourselves to pray for peace from our balconies and on our streets,” Francis said. “May the leaders of nations hear the people’s plea for peace.”


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In a clear reference to the threat of nuclear war, Francis quoted a 1955 statement by scientists: “‘Shall we put an end to mankind, or shall mankind renounce war?’

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Francis also drew attention to other wars in the speech known by the Latin name “Urbi et Orbi” – to the city and to the world.

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“May the conflict in Europe also make us more concerned about other conflict situations, sufferings and worries, situations that affect too many areas of our world, situations that we cannot overlook and that we do not want to forget,” said Francis.

Among the conflicts cited by the pope were those in the Middle East. He called for peace and reconciliation for the peoples of Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

He also cited Libya as well as Yemen “suffering from a conflict forgotten by everyone”.

Earlier, the pope, who has a knee ligament problem, hobbled badly as he walked to an altar set up in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. The altar was shaded from bright sunshine by a canopy.


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Ukraine’s civilian death toll mounts as Russia repeats attacks on major cities


Ukraine’s civilian death toll mounts as Russia repeats attacks on major cities

Immediately after the conclusion of Mass, Francis shook hands with the prelates, then climbed into the white papal mobile to twirl across the square to greet jubilant well-wishers among the common faithful. He waved and patted the head of a baby that was handed to him. His smile while greeting the crowd has been a rare departure lately for the pope, who has used many of his appearances in recent weeks to somberly denounce the war in Ukraine.

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Meanwhile in London, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called on Russia to declare a ceasefire and withdraw from Ukraine. The leader of the Anglican Church said Easter is a time of peace and not “blood and iron”.

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Welby noted that in the Eastern Orthodox Church, followed by many in Russia and Ukraine, Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week – with Easter on April 24 – and urged Russia to withdraw from Ukraine and commit to talks .

In an unusually blunt political remark, Welby also condemned the UK government’s recent plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda as anti-God.

Warm weather and the easing of many pandemic restrictions – including mandatory masks outdoors for most of the pandemic in Italy – have prompted a tourism boom in Rome, with many visitors flooding the city for Holy Week ceremonies, which celebrate Easter peaked.

In Spain, faithful and secular enthusiasts flocked to Holy Week processions in large numbers this week for the first time since the pandemic began, after most health restrictions were lifted.

Jill Lawless in London and Joseph Wilson in Barcelona contributed.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

https://globalnews.ca/news/8765525/pope-francis-easter-sunday-mass-ukraine-war/ Pope pleads for peace in Ukraine in Easter address, cites “worrying” risk of nuclear war – National

Joel McCord

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