VATICAN CITY — Following today’s Angelus Prayer, 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.
See his full address below:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In the past days, the UN Secretary-General launched an appeal to “cease the global and immediate fire in all corners of the world,” recalling the present COVID-19 emergency, which knows no borders – an appeal to total cease-fire.
I join all those that have listened to this appeal and I invite all to follow it up, halting all forms of warlike hostility, fostering the creation of corridors for humanitarian aid, openness to diplomacy and attention to those that find themselves in a situation of greatest vulnerability. May the joint commitment against the pandemic be able to bring all to recognize our need to reinforce fraternal bonds with members of the one family; in particular, may it awaken in nations’ leaders and other parties involved a renewed commitment to overcome rivalries. Conflicts aren’t resolved through war! It’s necessary to overcome antagonisms and oppositions through dialogue and a constructive search for peace.
At this moment, my thought goes especially to all those people suffering the vulnerability of being constrained to live in a group: rest homes, barracks . . . I would like to mention particularly persons in prisons. I read an official note of the Human Rights Commission, which speaks of overcrowded prisons, which could become a tragedy. I ask the Authorities to be sensitive to this grave problem and to take the necessary measures to avoid future tragedies.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me; I do so for you. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye.