Marking two months of war, Pope Francis says 'the attack must be stopped'

The aftermath of the Russian occupation of Bucha, Ukraine. The aftermath of the Russian occupation of Bucha, Ukraine. | Ministry of Digital Development Mikhail Fedorov via Wikimedia (Public Domain).

Pope Francis on Sunday renewed his call for a truce in Ukraine, saying "the attack must be stopped."

“Today various Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox, and several Latin communities, celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar. We celebrated it last Sunday, following the Gregorian calendar. I offer them my warmest wishes: Christ is risen, he is truly risen! May he fill with hope the good expectations of hearts. May he grant peace, outraged by the barbarity of war,” the pope said on April 24.

Pope Francis delivered his remarks about the war from his balcony above St. Peter's Square at the conclusion of his Regina Caeli reflection for Divine Mercy Sunday.

“Today marks two months since the beginning of this war: Instead of stopping, the war has worsened. It is sad that in these days, which are the holiest and most solemn for all Christians, the deadly roar of weapons is heard rather than the sound of bells announcing the Resurrection; and it is sad that weapons are increasingly taking the place of words,” he continued.

“I renew my appeal for an Easter truce, a minimal and tangible sign of a desire for peace. The attack must be stopped, to respond to the suffering of the exhausted population; it must stop, in obedience to the words of the Risen Lord, who on Easter Day repeats to his disciples: ‘Peace be with you! (Lk 24:36; Jn 20:19.21),” the pope said.

“I ask everyone to increase prayer for peace and to have the courage to say, to show that peace is possible,” he concluded. “Political leaders, please, listen to the voice of the people, who want peace, not an escalation of the conflict.”

In an interview with an Argentine newspaper published last week, Pope Francis said a meeting with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in Jerusalem will no longer take place as planned. He also indicated in the same interview that he did not anticipate visit Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, because of the continued fighting.

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