VIRUS: PAPAL APPEAL TO WORLD LEADERS

Pope Francis appealVATICAN CITY — Following the Angelus Prayer last Sunday, Pope Francis echoed the March 23 appeal by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, calling for an “immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world” as humanity faces the COVID-19 pandemic.

Appealing to leaders everywhere to put aside their differences, he said that “conflicts are not resolved through war.” He urged opposing sides to “overcome antagonism and contrast through dialogue and a constructive search for peace.”

In his address, livestreamed from the library of the Apostolic Palace to a largely quarantined world, Pope Francis noted that COVID-19 “knows no borders.”

He encouraged everyone to use this time as an opportunity “to recognize our need to reinforce fraternal bonds with members of the one family.”

Echoing the words of Secretary-General Guterres who stated that “the fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war,” Pope Francis invited leaders everywhere “to follow-up by stopping all forms of warlike hostility” calling for the “creation of corridors for humanitarian aid” to provide necessities of life to vulnerable populations.

The coronavirus crisis “can arouse a renewed commitment to overcoming rivalries among leaders of nations and other stakeholders,” he said.

Pope Francis prayed also for those living in housing that makes them more susceptible to risk, such as shared houses and barracks and prisons, particularly prisons that are overcrowded.

He asked authorities “to be sensitive to this problem and to take the necessary measures” to avoid further tragedies.Pope Francis ended his address from the window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, waving into the strikingly empty St Peter’s square below and imparting a blessing as the bells of St. Peter’s rang.

On April 2, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres further renewed his call for a global ceasefire, issuing an update to his March 23 appeal. He urged all parties to conflict to lay down arms and allow war-torn countries to combat the coronavirus pandemic. “The worst is yet to come,” he stated. “The COVID-19 storm is now coming to all these theatres of conflict.”

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