Int’l Community Urged to Act Against Violence

Int’l Community Urged to Act Against ViolenceInt’l Community Urged to Act Against Violence

Pope Francis used his Easter blessing to urge the international community to address violence in Syria and Iraq and to pray for the victims of aggression and persecution across the globe.

“We ask the grace not to succumb to the pride which fuels violence and war,” Francis told rain-drenched crowds in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

He called for peace “above all” in Syria and Iraq, asking “the international community not to stand by before the immense humanitarian tragedy unfolding,” Bloomberg quoted him as saying.

The pope also said his thoughts were with the young people killed Thursday in an attack by al-Shabaab militants at the Garissa University College in Kenya. Speaking during the Good Friday service in Rome two days ago, he condemned the “complicit silence” surrounding the killing of Christians.

Francis, 78, who celebrated the third Easter since his election, has made peace and the plight of the world’s poor key issues of his pontificate. His efforts include hosting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and then-Israeli President Shimon Peres in the Vatican last year for a joint prayer for peace, and helping broker an historic accord between the US and Cuba.

During his Easter speech on Sunday, the pope expressed hope that the outline agreement on Iran’s nuclear program reached in Lausanne, Switzerland, may be “a definitive step” toward a safer world.

He also called for peace in Israel and Palestine, Ukraine, Libya, Yemen, Nigeria, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.