Pope Francis on Sunday urged peace in Ukraine during his Easter sermon, cautioning that the strife may result in a nuclear conflict.
May there be peace for war-torn Ukraine, so hard tried by the bloodshed and destruction of the cruel and senseless conflict into which it was dragged.
May a new dawn of hope soon come on this horrible night of agony and death. Let there be a decision for peace, “the pontiff urged.
“Please, please, let us not get used to war. Let us all devote ourselves to pleading for peace from our balconies and in our streets. Peace. May the leaders of nations hear the people’s call for peace. “
Francis made a reference to nuclear war from a 1955 statement by philosopher Bertrand Russell and physicist Albert Einstein that warned of the threat posed by nuclear weapons.
“Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind reject war? Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind reject war?” The pope said
Francis made his statements two days after he led a Good Friday evening procession in which a Russian woman and a Ukrainian woman carried a cross together in the traditional Stations of the Cross, which recalls Christ’s road to his crucifixion.
Ukraine’s envoy to the Vatican and Greek Catholic Archbishop of Kyiv, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, opposed the combined procession, Politico reported.
The pope gave his speech to audiences in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square from a balcony within the Basilica, making it his first Easter celebration since 2019.
In 2020 and 2021, the pontiff celebrated Easter within the Basilica to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. In 2019, there was no congregation, and in 2020, only a small gathering was allowed.
Francis also offered statements regarding Yemen, “which suffers from a conflict ignored by all, with continuous victims,” adding that he hopes a recent truce will provide hope to Yemen’s people.
He also appealed for peace and reconciliation for the peoples of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Libya.
Francis prayed that God bring “reconciliation” to Myanmar, where a dramatic scenario of hatred and violence persists, and Afghanistan, which is besieged by a humanitarian crisis, including food shortages.