What the Pope Has Said In His Easter Message on Sunday

Pope Francis in his annual Easter message on Sunday urged world leaders to speed up the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and, once again, called for a end to armed conflict.

The pope gave Easter mass at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City and afterwards delivered the Urbi et Orbi ("To the city and the world") address. During the mass, he led worshipers in silent prayer in place of the usual homily.

Francis would normally deliver the address to thousands of believers packed into St. Peter's Square but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he made the remarks to a crowd of fewer than 200 in the basilica.

"The pandemic is still spreading, while the social and economic crisis remains severe, especially for the poor," Francis said.

Amid the many hardships we are enduring, let us never forget that we have been healed by the wounds of Christ. In the light of the Risen Lord, our sufferings are now transfigured. Where there was death, now there is life. Where there was mourning, now there is consolation.

— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) April 4, 2021

"Nonetheless – and this is scandalous – armed conflicts have not ended and military arsenals are being strengthened."

The pope prayed to God to comfort the sick and praised medical workers. Italy is currently under a three-day lockdown.

He also expressed sympathy with children who were unable to attend school. Italy has been particularly badly hit by the virus, and Vatican City is contained entirely within the Italian capital of Rome.

"I urge the entire international community, in a spirit of global responsibility, to commit to overcoming delays in the distribution of vaccines and to facilitate their distribution, especially in the poorest countries," Francis said.

The pope offered further criticism of war and armed conflict. This is a theme he has returned to many times, including during his visit to Iraq in March when he called for an end to violence stemming from religious extremism.

"There are still too many wars and too much violence in the world! May the Lord, who is our peace, help us to overcome the mindset of war," Francis said on Sunday.

Francis reminded listeners that Sunday is International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, calling anti-personnel landmines: "insidious and horrible devices [...] how much better our world would be without these instruments of death!"

The pope also highlighted recent events in Myanmar, praising "the young people of Myanmar committed to supporting democracy and making their voices heard peacefully." Since a military coup in the country in February 1, more than 550 protesters have been killed, according to Reuters.

Francis called for an end to violence around the world, mentioning the Ethiopian region of Tigray, Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He also said the ongoing crisis in Yemen had been "met with a deafening and scandalous silence."

Also returning to a theme he visited in Iraq, the pope once again noted the ongoing persecution of Christians in some parts of the world and called for freedom of worship worldwide.

"We pray that the benefits of that healing will spread throughout the world. Happy Easter to all of you!" Francis concluded before imparting the traditional apostolic blessing.

Following his address, the pope's official Twitter account sent a tweet focusing on the difficulties the world is currently facing.

"Amid the many hardships we are enduring, let us never forget that we have been healed by the wounds of Christ," Francis said. "In the light of the Risen Lord, our sufferings are now transfigured. Where there was death, now there is life. Where there was mourning, now there is consolation."

4/4/21 8.30am E.T.: This article has been updated to include a tweet from Pope Francis.

Francis Attends the 'Liturgy of the Light'
Pope Francis attends the 'Liturgy of the Light' during the Easter Vigil Mass at St. Peter's Basilica on April 03, 2021 in Vatican City, Vatican. The pope called for an end to armed conflict in his Easter Sunday message. Franco Origlia/Getty Images