Pope tells rain-soaked crowd that the world must strive for peace
Published 06/04/2015 | 02:30
Pope Francis used his Easter blessing to urge the international community to address violence in Syria and Iraq and to pray for the victims of aggression and persecution across the globe.
"We ask the grace not to succumb to the pride which fuels violence and war," he said.
Cautious hope ran through the Pope's 'Urbi et Orbi' Easter message, a kind of papal commentary on the state of the world's affairs, which he delivered from the balcony of St Peter's Square.
He had just celebrated Mass in rain-whipped St Peter's Square for tens of thousands of people, who huddled under umbrellas or braved the downpour in thin, plastic raincoats.
Easter day is "so beautiful, and so ugly because of the rain", Pope Francis said. He called for peace "above all" in Syria and Iraq, asking "the international community not to stand by before the immense humanitarian tragedy unfolding".
The Pontiff also said his thoughts were with the people killed last Thursday in an attack by al-Shabaab militants at the Garissa University College in Kenya.
Speaking during the Good Friday service in Rome two days ago, he condemned the "complicit silence" surrounding the killing of Christians.
Francis (78), who celebrated the third Easter since his election, has made peace and the plight of the world's poor key issues of his pontificate.
During his Easter speech on Sunday, the Pope expressed hope that the outline agreement on Iran's nuclear program reached in Lausanne, Switzerland, may be "a definitive step" toward a safer world.
He also called for peace in Israel and Palestine, Ukraine, Libya, Yemen, Nigeria, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.