The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Pope Francis

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis, marking an "Easter of war" on Sunday urged leaders to hear the people's plea for peace in Ukraine and implicitly criticised Russia for dragging the country into a "cruel and senseless" conflict.

The 85-year-old pope made his comments in his twice-yearly "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) address to about 50,000 people in St. Peter's Square after a long Mass. It was the first Easter since 2019 that the public was allowed to attend following two years of COVID-19 restrictions.

Francis dedicated much of the address, traditionally an overview of world conflicts, to Ukraine, comparing the shock of another war in Europe to the shock of apostles who the gospel says saw the risen Jesus.

"Our eyes, too, are incredulous on this Easter of war. 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.

Ukraine, he said, was "sorely tried by the violence and destruction of the cruel and senseless war into which it was dragged".

Moscow describes the action it launched on February 24 a "special military operation." Francis has already rejected that terminology, calling it a war and previously using terms such as unjustified aggression and invasion.

"Let there be a decision for peace. May there be an end to the flexing of muscles while people are suffering," Francis said on Sunday, going on to thank those who had taken in refugees from Ukraine, most of whom have gone to Poland.

Earlier this month in Malta, Francis implicitly criticised Russian President Vladimir Putin over the invasion, saying a "potentate" was fomenting conflict for nationalist interests.

Shout 'Peace' From The Streets

Francis, who suffers from leg pain, held up well during the long Mass and then toured the crowd in the square and a nearby street while sitting in an open white popemobile.

Later, he read most of the "Urbi et Orbi" address from the balcony sitting down, standing only at the start and for the final blessing.

On Saturday night he attended but did not preside at an Easter vigil service, apparently to rest up for Sunday, the most important day in the Christian liturgical calendar.

"Please, let us not get used to war!" Francis said, looking down on the square bedecked by tens of thousands of flowers donated by the Netherlands. "Let us all commit ourselves to imploring peace, from our balconies and in our streets! May the leaders of nations hear people’s plea for peace."

"I hold in my heart all the many Ukrainian victims, 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," he said.

He called for reconciliation among Israelis and Palestinians ad among the people of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Myanmar, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which he is due to visit in July.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Jessica Cisneros

It’s a race that has some Democratic voters scratching their heads: a young, progressive primary challenger versus a pro-life, conservative Democrat who received an A-rating from the NRA. The primary race between one of the most conservative Democrats in the House, Representative Henry Cuellar, and Jessica Cisneros has become a lightning rod within the Democratic Party.

Cuellar declared victory, but as of Wednesday morning, major media outlets have said the race is too close to call. He is just a couple hundred votes ahead of his Cisneros in Texas' 28th Congressional District primary. When neither candidate won a majority in the March 1 primary, the two highest vote-getters faced each other in Tuesday's run-off election.

Keep reading... Show less
<script type="text/javascript" src="https://log.nordot.jp/js/beacon-1.1.0.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> nor.pageviewURL = "https://log.nordot.jp/pageview"; nor.setPageData({ opttype: "unknown", pagetype: "detail", conttype: "post", uiid: "e_S481RqwJFu", postid: "888372052127858688", contdata: { title: "On 'Easter of war,' pope implicitly criticises Russia over Ukraine", numimg: 3, cvrimg: 0, pubdate: "1650191435", chlang: "en-US" }, chunitid: "721958051058909184", cuunitid: "731904312584683520" }); nor.pageview(); </script>