Politeía Digest

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

In Easter message, pope urges diplomacy in Libya

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VATICAN CITY— Pope Benedict XVI contrasted war and hunger with the joy of Easter Sunday and issued a ringing call for diplomacy to prevail over fighting in Libya, for nations to welcome refugees from conflict and for Middle East leaders to respect their citizens.

Benedict celebrated Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Square, packed with pilgrims and tourists and awash in the bright colors of spring flowers as he marked the church’s most joyous day of the year.

He told the crowd: “In the current conflict in Libya, may diplomacy and dialogue replace arms, and may those who suffer as a result of the conflict be given access to humanitarian aid.”

Referring to northern Africa and the Middle East, the pope prayed for the realization of a society where “every political choice is inspired by respect for the human person.”

Christians worldwide on Easter Sunday recall Jesus’ resurrection, a sign of eternal life, following his crucifixion. This year, Easter fell on the same day in the Orthodox and Roman Catholic church calendars.

But while “in heaven, all is peace and gladness,” Benedict said in his message, delivered after the Mass from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, “alas, it is not so on earth.” He lamented that hunger, disease, war and violence still cause suffering in the world.

He prayed for people in the Middle East, “so that the light of peace and of human dignity may overcome the darkness of division, hate and violence.”

“In all the countries of northern Africa and the Middle East, may all citizens, especially young people, work to promote the common good and to build a society where poverty is defeated and every political choice is inspired by respect for the human person,” the pope said.

Uprisings, repression and civil warfare have triggered an exodus of people to European shores as well as other countries in the region. Europe has been split over whether to accept or deport tens of thousands of migrants, many of them from Libya and elsewhere in northern Africa.

Benedict rallied to the side of the refugee, saying, “may people of good will open their hearts to welcome them.”

In Rome, the drama of society’s unwanted played out in one of the city’s major basilicas, where some 150 Gypsies have taken refuge from city officials who are dismantling illegal Roma trailer settlements. The Gypsies say City Hall will split their families by sending women and children to a shelter in a Rome suburb but not men. Read more in The Los Angeles Times.

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Written by Theophyle

April 24, 2011 at 5:34 pm

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