~ by Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter
ROME – Pope Francis used his Easter message to again appeal for peace in Ukraine, saying the country has been “dragged” into a “cruel and senseless war” and warning that if the conflict escalates, it could lead to the destruction of humanity.
“May the leaders of nations hear people’s pleas for peace,” the Pope said on Easter Sunday,. “May they listen to that troubling questions posed by scientists almost 70 years ago.”
The Pope read from the 1955 Russell-Einstein Manifesto, “shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind renounce war?” which warned of the global destruction that could be caused by nuclear weapons.
“May there be an end to the flexing of muscles while people are suffering,” the Pope pleaded. “Please, let us not get used to war!”
“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,” the Pope said on Easter Sunday.
The pope noted that despite the pain and destruction caused by warm he was pleased to see countries throughout Europe opening their borders and homes to refugees fleeing the conflict.
Francis lamented that after two years of a global health crisis – where many people have come together “pooling our strengths and resources” the world is now facing an ‘Easter of war’. “We need the crucified and risen Lord so that we can believe in the victory of love, and hope for reconciliation.”