Pope’s Easter Message Calls For Talks On Iran


Catholic World News
April 17 2006

Vatican, Apr. 17 (CWNews.com) – Pope Benedict XVI (bio – news)
called for “serious and honest” negotiations to defuse tension over
the development of nuclear power by Iran, in Urbi et Orbi message
delivered on Easter Sunday.

The Holy Father did not explicitly mention Iran as he addressed
the crowd in St. Peter’s Square at midday on Easter Sunday. But
his reference to “the international crises linked to nuclear power”
was unmistakable.

In other references to international affairs, the Pope called for peace
in several African regions– beginning with a mention of Darfur, and
including the Great Lakes region, Ivory Coast, Uganda, and Zimbabwe–
and in Latin America. In a balanced reference to the Middle East, he
said: “May the international community, which re-affirms Israel’s just
right to exist in peace, assist the Palestinian people to overcome
the precarious conditions in which they live and to build their
future.” And looking toward Iraq, the Pontiff prayed that “peace
finally prevail over the tragic violence that continues mercilessly
to claim victims.”

The Pope’s first Easter message, delivered from the loggia of
the Vatican basilica, was broadcast by 102 television stations to
audiences in 65 different countries. A large and enthusiastic crowd
welcomed the Pope’s solemn Easter blessing with loud cheering and a
persistent chant of “Benedetto!”

Pope Benedict began his Urbi et Orbi address with a reflection on the
meaning of Easter, encouraging believers to ” relive the the event
of the Resurrection, which changed the face of our life and changed
the history of humanity.” The risen Christ, he said offers hope to
“all those who are still oppressed by chains of suffering and death–
sometimes even without knowing it.”

Jesus rose, the Pope said, because “it was not possible for him to be
held prisoner by death, and the tomb could not hold ‘the living one’
who is the very source of life.” He added: “His resurrection becomes
our resurrection, through Baptism which incorporates us into Him.”

After delivering his message, the Pope offered his Easter greetings
to the world, using 62 different languages. (That number matched the
number of different languages used by Pope John Paul at his Easter
Sunday audience in 2004; at Christmas, Pope Benedict had used “only”
33 languages.) In addition to many European languages, he spoke in
Armenian, Hebrew, Turkish, Gaelic, Korean, and several African tongues.

After the Pope’s message, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos (bio – news),
the prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, officially announced
the plenary indulgence that is granted (under the usual conditions)
to those who receive the Pope’s Easter blessing. Cardinal Castrillon
was at the Pope’s side along with Cardinal William Levada, the prefect
of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The papal blessing
was delivered, in Latin and to the sound of a fanfare, at 12:30.

After the midday audience Pope Benedict– who was celebrating his
79th birthday– left the Vatican by helicopter for a few days of rest
at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandalfo. He will return to
Rome for his regular weekly public audience on Wednesday, April 19–
which coincides with the 1st anniversary of his election.

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