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In a speech at Easter, the Pope called the epidemic wars “scandalous”

VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Francis in his traditional Easter Sunday message condemned as “scandalous” how armed conflict continues to rage even as the coronavirus epidemic has caused severe social and economic suffering and inflated the poor.

Francis softened his “Urbi և Orbi ″ address (Latin:” City և to the world “) on the day of the Christian holiday of joy, as he recounted the pain of the world’s many armed conflicts in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, and Eastern Europe.

Describing vaccines as an “essential tool” in the fight against the epidemic, Francis called for a “spirit of global responsibility” as he encouraged countries to overcome “vaccine distribution delays” and ensure that the shots reached the poorest countries.

“Everyone, especially the most vulnerable among us, needs help, has the right to receive the necessary care.” said the grandfather.

At the beginning of his speech, he made a note of indignation, condemning the fact that war and conflict have not diminished during the worst health crisis in the world in the last century.

“The epidemic is still spreading, while the socio-economic crisis remains severe, especially for the poor. “However, this is scandalous, the armed conflict is not over, the military arsenal is strengthening,” Francis said, looking angry. “It’s a scandal today.”

The Pope prayed that the state authorities would take care of those who need help to have a “dignified standard of living. “Unfortunately, the epidemic has dramatically increased the number of poor people and the despair of thousands.”

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

Francisco offered encouragement to young people in Myanmar who are “committed to supporting democracy and making their voices heard peacefully.” In protest of Yan holiday in Myanmar, protesters took to the streets holding painted eggs. Myanmar’s military has violently cracked down on opposition to a February 1 coup that toppled a democratically elected government.

Francis thanked Lebanon and Jordan for accepting refugees from the war in Syria, praying that peace would finally come, “millions of people living in inhumane conditions.” He prayed for an end to the conflicts in Yemen and Libya.

Referring to the suffering of people in Africa, he condemned “domestic violence and international terrorism, especially in the Sahel and Nigeria.” Other areas of concern he cited were Ethiopia’s Tigris state and Mozambique’s Cape Delgado state, which has been the scene of bloody battles with insurgents for control of a city.

Francis prayed for the safe return of captives of long-running conflict in Europe, eastern Ukraine, and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Earlier in the day, Francis celebrated Easter Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, where worshipers kept barely 200 people in reservoirs, according to epidemic records, compared to the usual thousands.

Usually, Francis reads his Easter sermon on world affairs from the central balcony of the Basilica overlooking St. Peter’s Square. Instead, for the second Easter in a row, he read it inside to discourage people from gathering.

“Dear brothers and sisters, this year, in many parts of the world, many Christians have celebrated the Eid al-Adha under severe restrictions, sometimes without attending liturgies,” said Francis, before offering a special apostolic blessing to believers around the world.

“We pray that these restrictions, as well as all restrictions on worship and freedom of religion, will be lifted, and that everyone will be allowed to pray freely, and to glorify God,” he said.


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