“Everyone, especially the most vulnerable among us, needs support and has the right to access essential care.” said the Pope.
At the beginning of his address, he was outraged and noted that there was no shortage of war and conflict during the world’s worst health crisis in a century.
“The pandemic is still spreading, while the social and economic crisis remains severe, especially for the poor. Nevertheless – and this is scandalous – armed conflicts have not ended and the military arsenals are being strengthened, ”said Francis, sounding angry. “That is today’s scandal.”
The Pope prayed that the authorities would ensure that those in need have “a decent standard of living.” Unfortunately, the pandemic has dramatically increased the numbers of the poor and the despair of thousands of people. “
He lamented the plight of people affected by war and other conflicts, citing Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, ravaged by violent protests and political conflicts, including an alleged coup. Francis urged Haitians “not to be overwhelmed by difficulties, but to look to the future with confidence and hope”.
Francis encouraged young people in Myanmar who are “committed to supporting democracy and having their voices heard peacefully”. Protesters in Myanmar took to the streets with painted eggs to refer to Easter. The Myanmar military has tried forcibly to suppress those who opposed a February 1 coup that ousted a democratically elected government.
Francis thanked Lebanon and Jordan for accepting refugees from the war in Syria and prayed that there would finally be peace, “Millions live under inhuman conditions”. He also prayed for an end to conflicts in Yemen and Libya.
Citing the suffering of the people in Africa, he condemned “internal violence and international terrorism, especially in the Sahel region and in Nigeria”. Other crisis areas he mentioned were the Ethiopian province of Tigray and the Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, which have become bloody after days of fighting with rebels for control of a city.
Francis prayed for the safe return of prisoners of long conflicts in Europe, eastern Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabkh.
Earlier in the day, Francis celebrated Easter mass in St. Peter’s Church, where the number of believers in the pews was barely 200 compared to the usual thousands, according to the pandemic protocols.
Francis usually gives his Easter speech on world events from the central balcony of the basilica with a view of St. Peter’s Square. Instead, he read it inside for the second time in a row to keep the crowd from gathering.
“Dear brothers and sisters, again this year many Christians celebrated Easter in different places under strict conditions, and sometimes without being able to take part in liturgical celebrations,” said Francis, before offering a special apostolic blessing to believers around the world.
“We pray that these restrictions and all restrictions on freedom of religion and religion will be lifted worldwide and that everyone will be able to pray freely and praise God,” said the Pope.