DURING his annual Easter Speech in Rome on March 27, Pope Francis was dishing out optimism and condemnation in equal doses as he expressed his disappointment with those who have failed to lend migrants a helping hand.
While delivering his ‘urbi et orbi’ (To the city and the world) message from St. Peter’s Square, the Pope drew attention to the recent European migrant crisis, and used the opportunity to lambast those who have turned a blind eye to the unfolding events of the past few months.
Specifically, the Pope said that: “The Easter message of the risen Christ… invites us not to forget those men and women seeking a better future, an ever more numerous throng of migrants and refugees… fleeing from war, hunger, poverty and social injustice.
“All too often, these brothers and sisters of ours meet along the way with death or, in any event, rejection by those who could offer them welcome and assistance.”
He offered a prayer for Syria, expressing his optimism that the conflict will ultimately meet a peaceful conclusion, and encouraged all of his listeners to use the “weapons of love” to fight against terrorism.
Although the focal point of his speech was Syria and the ongoing migrant crisis, the Pope also touched upon the idea of international terrorism, calling attention to recent attacks in places as far-ranging as Belgium, Nigeria, Cameroon and Iraq.
Although thousands cancelled their trips to Rome in the aftermath of the Brussels terrorist attacks on March 22, an enormous throng of thousands showed up to hear the Pope’s message. Former king and queen of Belgium, Albert and Paola, were present at the Mass on Sunday, and even exchanged some words with the Catholic figurehead.