In His Easter Message, Pope Francis Calls for End to Violence and Oppression Worldwide

( [email protected] ) Apr 07, 2015 02:25 PM EDT
Pope Francis used his Easter message on Sunday to call for an end to violence and oppression around the world.
Pope Francis lifts up the chalice as he leads a vigil mass during Easter celebrations at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican April 19, 2014. REUTERS/ALESSANDRO BIANCHI

Pope Francis used his Easter message on Sunday to call for an end to violence and oppression around the world.

His message, which was posted in its entirety by the Huffington Post, was delivered at the end of Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square. The message, known as the traditional Urbi et Orbi (to the city and to the world) is often seen as a "papal commentary on the state of world affairs."

"The world proposes that we put ourselves forward at all costs, that we compete, that we prevail," Francis said. "But Christians, by the grace of Christ, dead and risen, are the seeds of another humanity, in which we seek to live in service to one another, not to be arrogant, but rather respectful and ready to help."

The pope called for an end to violence around the world, contending that doing so is a measure of "true strength."

"Those who bear within them God's power, His love and His justice, do not need to employ violence," Francis said. "They speak and act with the power of truth, beauty and love. From the risen Lord we ask the grace not to succumb to the pride which fuels violence and war, but to have the humble courage of pardon and peace."

Francis also prayed for Christians who are being persecuted for practicing their faith around the world. He especially focused his prayers on the Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria.

"We ask for peace, above all, for Syria and Iraq, that the roar of arms may cease and that peaceful relations may be restored among the various groups which make up those beloved countries," Francis said. "May the international community not stand by before the immense humanitarian tragedy unfolding in these countries and the drama of the numerous refugees."

The pope then turned his focus between Israelis and Palestinians, praying that there would be "peace for all the peoples of the Holy Land."

"May the culture of encounter grow between Israelis and Palestinians and the peace process be resumed, in order to end years of suffering and division," Francis said.

According to Ben Brumfield of CNN, Francis also addressed other situations in hotspots around the world during his Easter message.

"Francis mentioned Libya; the nuclear talks with Iran in Lausanne, Switzerland; Yemen; Nigeria; South Sudan; and the shooting at the Garissa University College in Kenya," Brumfield wrote. "He also hoped for peace in Ukraine and for healing for those who have suffered there."

The focus in the pope's message then turned to economic oppression. Brumfield reported that the pope also prayed for peace from drug dealers, corrupt officials and arms dealers.

"We ask for peace and freedom for the many men and women subject to old and new forms of enslavement on the part of criminal individuals and groups," Francis said. "Peace and liberty for the victims of drug dealers, who are often allied with the powers who ought to defend peace and harmony in the human family. And we ask peace for this world subjected to arms dealers."

The pope then ended his message on a hopeful tone for the poor and oppressed people.

"May the marginalized, the imprisoned, the poor and the migrants who are so often rejected, maltreated and discarded, the sick and the suffering, children, especially those who are victims of violence; all who today are in mourning, and all men and women of goodwill, hear the consoling voice of the Lord Jesus," Francis said. "Peace to you!" (Luke 24:36).

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