Pope calls for peace in Ukraine on ‘Easter of war,’ warns of nuclear threat

Calling Sunday’s holiday an “Easter of war,” Pope Francis on April 17 cautioned that the conflict in Ukraine could lead to nuclear war. (Video: Reuters)

Pope Francis, in an Easter address delivered to tens of thousands of worshipers in the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square, called for “peace for war-torn Ukraine” and cautioned that the conflict could lead to nuclear war.

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Under the bright sun before a crowd reveling in a return to tradition after previous years’ pandemic-related restrictions, the pope called Sunday’s holiday an “Easter of war.”

“We have seen all too much blood, all too much violence,” he said. “Our hearts, too, have been filled with fear and anguish, as so many of our brothers and sisters have had to lock themselves away to be safe from bombing.”

“Let us all commit ourselves to imploring peace, from our balconies and in our streets,” the pontiff said. “May the leaders of nations hear people’s plea for peace.”

He cited a line from a 1955 manifesto by physicist Albert Einstein and philosopher Bertrand Russell, in which scientists and thinkers warn of the risks posed by nuclear weapons, writing, “Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind renounce war?”

The Easter message capped a weekend of religious events for Catholics. Orthodox Christians in Ukraine and elsewhere celebrate Easter on April 24.

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