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Pope message: End waste

Pope Francis delivers the Urbi et Orbi blessing for Rome and the world during Easter celebrations in the Vatican. (AFP)

Vatican City, April 20 (Reuters): Pope Francis, in his Easter address before a huge crowd, today denounced the “immense wastefulness” in the world while many go hungry and called for an end to conflicts in Syria, Ukraine and Africa.

“We ask you, Lord Jesus, to put an end to all war and every conflict, whether great or small, ancient or recent,” he said in his Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) message.

Francis, marking the second Easter season of his pontificate, celebrated a Mass to an overflowing crowd of at least 150,000 in St Peter’s Square and beyond.

The crowd stretched back along all of Via della Conciliazione, the boulevard between the Vatican and the Tiber River.

Speaking under a sunny sky after a midnight rainstorm soaked the tens of thousands of flowers that bedecked the square, Francis weaved his message around the suffering of people across the globe.

He prayed to God to “help us to overcome the scourge of hunger, aggravated by conflicts and by the immense wastefulness for which we are often responsible”.

Since his election as the first non-European Pope in 1,300 years, Francis had made defence of the poor a hallmark of his papacy, often criticising developed nations and the excesses of capitalism and consumerism.

The Pope, wearing white vestments for the service, prayed for the protection of those members of society who are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and abandonment — women, children, the elderly and immigrants.

Easter is the most important day on the liturgical calendar because it commemorates the day Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead after his crucifixion .

The Pope called on the international community to “boldly negotiate the peace long awaited and long overdue” in Syria, where more than 150,000 people have been killed in the civil war, a third of them civilians. Millions have fled the country.

 
 
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