Pope Speaks of Ukraine’s Suffering on ‘an Easter of War’

Francis called for peace in Libya so it could find “stability after years of tension,” and for Yemen, “which suffers from a conflict forgotten by all, with continuous victims.” He called for an end to the “hatred and violence” in Myanmar and cited the “tragic humanitarian crisis” in Afghanistan “bringing great suffering to its people” as well as struggles in African countries.

“We have seen all too much blood, all too much violence. Our hearts, too, have been filled with fear and anguish, as so many of our brothers and sisters have had to lock themselves away in order to be safe from bombing,” he said.

Francis pleaded last week for an Easter truce in Ukraine, and he has called frequently for the end to the war there, which this week he decried as blasphemous and an “outrage against God.” His comments have not cited President Vladimir V. Putin by name, an omission that has drawn criticism, though during a visit to Malta this month, Francis laid blame for the war on a “potentate sadly caught up in anachronistic claims of nationalist interests.”

The pope has repeatedly called for humanitarian corridors, as well as sending envoys — two of his closest collaborators — to Ukraine to show his closeness to the Ukrainian people, and he said earlier this month that he might visit Kyiv himself.

On Sunday, he said that he held the “many Ukrainian victims” in his heart, referring to “the millions of refugees and internally displaced persons, the divided families, the elderly left to themselves, the lives broken and the cities razed to the ground.” The faces of the orphaned children fleeing from the war in Ukraine, he said, reflected the same pain as “those other children who suffer throughout our world: those dying of hunger or lack of medical care, those who are victims of abuse and violence, and those denied the right to be born.”

The Easter message is one of peace, Francis said, adding that it was especially welcome amid circumstances like these. “Let us allow the peace of Christ to enter our lives, our homes, our countries,” he said.


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