VATICAN CITY, March 27 (UPI) — Just as he did during his Christmas address, Pope Francis on Easter remembered the suffering of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa, but this time condemned those who wish to prevent them from crossing borders.
During his urbi et orbi address from St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, the pope remembered the suffering of people from Syria, Libya and Yemen and urged Christians to reach out to them.
“The Easter message of the risen Christ,” he said, is “a message of life for all humanity, echoes down the ages and invites us not to forget those men and women seeking a better future, an ever more numerous throng of migrants and refugees — including many children — fleeing from war, hunger, poverty and social injustice.”
He had particularly harsh words for those who wish to prevent migrants from seeking safety outside their homeland.
“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.”
The message was typical of the pope’s rhetoric in recent months as he seeks to shed light on the migrant crisis.
Just days earlier he washed the feet of several migrants during the traditional foot-washing ceremony, a part of Holy Thursday Mass.
“All of us together, Muslims, Hindus, Catholics, Copts, Evangelical [Protestants] brothers and sisters — children of the same God — we want to live in peace, integrated,” he said.
On Sunday the pope echoed comments he made during his Christmas message, dealing with the issues of war, terrorism, the migrant crisis and the need to halt violence around the world.
He condemned the terrorist attacks in Brussels last week in which 31 people died in three blasts at the airport and a subway station, as well as attacks elsewhere around the worldd.
“May he draw us closer on this Easter feast to the victims of terrorism, that blind and brutal form of violence which continues to shed blood in different parts of the world, as in the recent attacks in Belgium, Turkey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Côte d’Ivoire.