Pope Francis Calls for an Easter Ceasefire in Ukraine: "Why Don't We Let Christ Win?"

Pope Francis

Pope Francis has called for a truce over Easter in the war in Ukraine at a service for tens of thousands of people at Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican today. It has already been 45 days since Russia invaded Ukraine, resulting in the death of 176 children killed so far. More than 4.4 million Ukrainans have fled the country ever since the war began.

The pope issued his call for "a Paschal truce" at the end of the Palm Sunday celebration in St. Peter's Square and urged people worldwide to pray to God for the end of the fighting in Ukraine.  

"Why don't we let Christ win? He bore the cross to free us from the dominion of evil. He died so that life, love, and peace may reign," the pope pleaded. "Lay down the arms, let a paschal truce begin, not just to recharge the weapons and start fighting again. No! A truce to arrive at peace, through a true negotiation, disposed also to make some sacrifice for the good of the people.

"Nothing is impossible for God. He can even bring an end to a war whose end is not in sight, a war that daily places before our eyes heinous massacres and atrocious cruelty committed against defenseless civilians." 

Earlier at Mass, Francis delivered a profound homily on the theme of forgiveness and linked it to the war, as he recalled how Jesus on the cross said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." The pope added, "Jesus not only asked that they be forgiven, but also mentioned the reason why: for they know not what they do." He said, "That is how Jesus acts in our regard: he makes himself our advocate. He does not set himself against us, but for us and against our sins."

Then, clearly alluding to the war in the Ukraine, Francis said:

When we resort to violence, we show that we no longer know anything about God, who is our Father, or even about others, who are our brothers and sisters. We lose sight of why we are in the world and even end up committing senseless acts of cruelty. We see this in the folly of war, where Christ is crucified yet another time. Christ is once more nailed to the Cross in mothers who mourn the unjust death of husbands and sons. He is crucified in refugees who flee from bombs with children in their arms. He is crucified in the elderly left alone to die; in young people deprived of a future; in soldiers sent to kill their brothers and sisters.






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