Pope Francis Condemns ‘Stumbling Blocks’ To Peace In Easter Message


Ukraine, the Middle East, and international terrorism: Pope Francis condemned the world’s numerous “stumbling blocks” to peace in his traditional Easter message “Urbi et Orbi” on Sunday.

In front of 100,000 faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, the Argentine Jesuit expressed his “deep concern” about recent attacks in the Middle East, which he believes threaten the “dialogue” between Israelis and Palestinians, against a backdrop of renewed violence in the region.

As in 2022, his message gave a special place to the war in Ukraine. “Comfort the wounded and those who have lost loved ones to the war, and allow prisoners to return safely to their families,” he said, calling on the international community to “put an end to this war and to all the conflicts that bloody the world.

He also remembered the victims of the February earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, which killed over 56,000 people and caused more than 100 billion euros in damage.

Francis, whose health appears to be deteriorating and who uses a wheelchair due to knee pain, had presided at Easter Mass under a bright sun a few minutes earlier before taking a long walk in his “Papamobile” through the alleys of St. Peter’s Square, blessing the faithful in a warm atmosphere.

The 86-year-old Pope, who was hospitalized last week for bronchitis, presided over the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for two and a half hours on Saturday evening, in the presence of approximately 8,000 people.

On Friday, he had cancelled his participation in the traditional “Way of the Cross” organized in the Colosseum of Rome because of the cold, but he had presided as planned the office of the Passion.

Holy Week and Easter, which commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ, are the main highlights of the year in the Catholic calendar.


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