VATICAN CITY (CNS): In his Easter message, Pope Benedict XVI lamented the countless wars, disasters and horrors ravaging the world, including “the continual slaughter” in Iraq and the situation in the Darfur region of Sudan.
The Pope highlighted his concern for all those suffering from exploitation, hunger, disease, terrorism, kidnappings and the “violence which some people attempt to justify in the name of religion”.
While there were “some signs of hope in dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, nothing positive comes from Iraq, torn apart by continual slaughter as the civil population flees”, he said.
The political crisis in Lebanon, instability in Afghanistan, chaos in Somalia, economic collapse in Zimbabwe, and the “catastrophic, and sadly to say underestimated, humanitarian situation” in Darfur were some of the other places the Pope listed as needing attention.
With all the suffering, evil and injustice plaguing the world, it is possible one’s faith in God might be put to the test, just as the apostles’ faith in Jesus had been shaken “by the scandal of the cross”, Pope Benedict said.
Instead of being a sign of apparent failure, Jesus’ passion and death show “the face of a God who, in Christ, has taken upon himself the wounds of injured humanity”, he said.
Pope Benedict read his message and gave his blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city of Rome and the world) after celebrating Easter morning Mass for about 85,000 people in front of St Peter’s Basilica.