'Hope and dignity:' Pope calls for peace in Easter message

Posted: Updated:

VATICAN CITY (AP) - On Christianity's most joyful day, Pope Francis in his Easter Sunday message called for peace in a world marked by war and conflict, "beginning with the beloved and long-suffering land of Syria," and extending to the entire Middle East, the Korean peninsula and parts of Africa affected by "hunger, endemic conflicts and terrorism."

Francis reflected on the power of Christianity's core belief - that Jesus rose from the dead following crucifixion - in his formal "Urbi et Orbi" Easter message delivered from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica to a packed square below.

The pontiff said the message of the resurrection offers hope in a world "marked by so many acts of injustice and violence."

"It bears fruits of hope and dignity where there are deprivation and exclusion, hunger and unemployment; where there are migrants and refugees, so often rejected by today's culture of waste, and victims of the drug trade, human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery," the pope said.

He called for a "swift end" to carnage in Syria, demanding that aid be delivered to the needy there and calling for "fitting conditions for the returned and the displaced." The pope also urged reconciliation in Israel and hoped that mutual respect would "prevail over divisions" in Yemen and the entire Middle East.

Turning to Asia, Francis hoped that talks underway could bring peace to the Korean peninsula, urging "those who are directly responsible act with wisdom and discernment to promote the good of the Korean people."

For Ukraine, the pope urged more steps to bring harmony to that divided nation. He also called for peace in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, urging the world not to forget victims of conflict, especially children.

"May there be no lack of solidarity with all those forced to leave their native lands and lacking the bare essentials for living," said the pope who has often championed the cause of migrants and refugees.

The church's first pontiff from Latin America cited in particular the problems in Venezuela, voicing hope the country would "find a just, peaceful and humane way to surmount quickly the political and humanitarian crises that grip it."

Earlier, tens of thousands of faithful underwent heavy security checks to enter St. Peter's Square to participate in Easter Sunday Mass celebrated by the pope, followed by his "Urbi et Orbi" message ("to the city and the world").

Security precautions included bag checks and metal detector wands for everyone entering the square, while the main avenue leading to the Vatican, as well as smaller adjoining streets, were closed to traffic.

Francis opened Easter festivities with a Tweet to his global flock: "Our faith is born on Easter morning: Jesus is alive! The experience is at the heart of the Christian message."

Elsewhere, hundreds of Christians marked Easter by flocking to Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on the site where they believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Police: Sachem student dies after ‘medical incident’ following band practice

    Police: Sachem student dies after ‘medical incident’ following band practice

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 6:09 PM EDT2018-07-17 22:09:04 GMT
    A 17-year-old Sachem High School North student died Monday after suffering a “medical incident” following a four-hour band practice, police say.A 17-year-old Sachem High School North student died Monday after suffering a “medical incident” following a four-hour band practice, police say.

    A 17-year-old Sachem High School North student died Monday after suffering a “medical incident” following a four-hour band practice, police say.

    A 17-year-old Sachem High School North student died Monday after suffering a “medical incident” following a four-hour band practice, police say.

  • Dean and Adam Skelos found guilty at corruption retrial

    Dean and Adam Skelos found guilty at corruption retrial

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 5:06 PM EDT2018-07-17 21:06:41 GMT
    Former state Senate Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam have been found guilty on all counts at their corruption retrial.Former state Senate Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam have been found guilty on all counts at their corruption retrial.

    Former state Senate Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam have been found guilty on all counts at their corruption retrial.

    Former state Senate Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam have been found guilty on all counts at their corruption retrial.

  • NY Health Dept. addresses cancer clusters in 3 Suffolk towns

    NY Health Dept. addresses cancer clusters in 3 Suffolk towns

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 7:35 PM EDT2018-07-17 23:35:17 GMT
    The state Health Department is addressing the cancer concerns among people in three Suffolk communities during a public meeting Tuesday night in Stony Brook.The state Health Department is addressing the cancer concerns among people in three Suffolk communities during a public meeting Tuesday night in Stony Brook.

    The state Health Department is addressing the cancer concerns among people in three Suffolk communities during a public meeting Tuesday night in Stony Brook.

    The state Health Department is addressing the cancer concerns among people in three Suffolk communities during a public meeting Tuesday night in Stony Brook.

  • SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Just Married on Long Island

    Just Married on Long Island

    News 12 Long Island wants to announce your wedding. Share your pictures and videos with News 12 Long Island viewers!

    News 12 Long Island wants to announce your wedding. Share your pictures and videos with News 12 Long Island viewers!

  • Trump and Putin hold summit in Helsinki

    Trump and Putin hold summit in Helsinki

    (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

    Sights and scenes at President Donald Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, July 16, 2018. Images via Getty.

    Sights and scenes at President Donald Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, July 16, 2018. Images via Getty.

  • Surf Lodge in Montauk summer lineup

    Surf Lodge in Montauk summer lineup

    Various bands will perform at the Surf Lodge this summer.

    Visit the Surf Lodge website for more information.

    Various bands will perform at the Surf Lodge this summer.

    Visit the Surf Lodge website for more information.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."