Pope eschews ‘eurocentric’ view in Easter address

Francis speaks on Brussels bombing and terror attacks worldwide

Pope Francis delivers the Urbi et Orbi benediction at the Vatican. Photograph: Reuters/Osservatore Romano

Pope Francis delivers the Urbi et Orbi benediction at the Vatican. Photograph: Reuters/Osservatore Romano

 

At the end of a week marked by terrorist attacks, Pope Francis urged people not to lose “all hope and joy in life”.

Making his traditional Urbi et Orbi (To the City and to the World) Easter address, the pope made reference to Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels.

Significantly, he pointed out that Belgium had not been the only country to have recently suffered terrorist violence, referring to “the recent attacks in Belgium, Turkey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Cote d’Ivoire”.

In the past, the pope has argued against a “eurocentric” vision of world affairs. The Mediterranean, the Middle East, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Israel, Palestine and Ukraine were also highlighted in his address as he argued that the risen Christ offered a “path of hope”.

In reference to Syria, the pope expressed his hopes for the ongoing peace talks in Syria: “Syria [is] a country torn by a lengthy conflict, with its sad wake of destruction, death, contempt for humanitarian law and the breakdown of civil concord. To the power of the risen Lord we entrust the talks now in course . . .”

Not for the first time, Pope Francis called for “concord between Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land” while he appealed for “a definitive solution to the war in Ukraine”, a solution which would favour “initiatives of humanitarian aid”. In relation to Africa, Francis called on the Lord to “water the seeds of hope and prospects for peace in Africa . . . in particular in Burundi, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan”.

With reference to Latin America, the pope spoke of the “difficult conditions” currently being experienced by Venezuela, urging dialogue and co-operation.

Pope Francis also found time to touch on two issues that have been fundamental to his pontificate, namely migration and climate change:

“The Easter message of the risen Christ . . . invites us not to forget those men and women seeking a better future, an ever more numerous throng of migrants and refugees – including many children – fleeing from war, hunger, poverty and social injustice . . . ”

As for the environment, he bemoaned the extent to which “it is so often mistreated and greedily exploited”.