Pope Francis calls for a “worldwide and immediate” cease-fire

During his traditional blessing urbi et orbi, pronounced in Mondovision, the Pope also proposed on Sunday in his Easter message to “reduce” or even “cancel” the debt of poor countries.

No processions, no traditional religious services: more than 2 billion Christians are living a unique Easter weekend. For the most important feast in the Christian tradition, which commemorates the resurrection of Christ, the faithful follow the Easter masses of a confined Pope Francis on screen.

Pope makes a specific appeal to Europe

During his traditional blessing urbi et orbi, pronounced this year, virus obliges, in Mondovision, the pope proposed Sunday April 12 in his Easter message “to reduce” or even “cancel” the debt of poor countries and launched an appeal for a reduction of international sanctions.

In this message delivered in an empty St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis also repeated his call for “an immediate global ceasefire in all regions of the world. He chose to make a specific appeal to Europe to rediscover “a concrete spirit of solidarity which has enabled it to overcome the rivalries of the past”, especially after the Second World War. Pope Francis also addressed his thoughts “to all those who have been directly affected by the coronavirus”, to the “sick, to those who have died and to the families” in his Easter message on Sunday.

Confinement not always respected to celebrate Easter
In Jerusalem, for the first time in more than a century, the Holy Sepulchre, where Christ was buried according to Christian tradition, is closed to the public for the entire weekend. A simple closed-door mass was celebrated there on Good Friday.

It was too much for some of the faithful: in San Marco in Lamis (south-east Italy), 200 of them broke the confinement to come and pray in front of the church, prompting the local mayor to apologize flatly for not having been able to do anything in front of these people who “knelt down to pray before Our Lady”.

In Nicaragua, in spite of the threat and opposition from the church, the Sandinista government is instead pushing to celebrate Easter, encouraging processions of the chained “Judas”. Nicaragua “lives in quiet days” and celebrates “the sacrifice of Jesus Christ who fought for justice,” said Vice-President and First Lady Rosario Murillo.

The most affected country remains the United States

Since its outbreak in China in December, the Covid-19 epidemic has killed at least 107,064 people worldwide.

If the epidemic is now globally contained in China, the country announced on Sunday 97 new “imported cases” of contamination with the new coronavirus, i.e. due to people arriving from abroad, a level never reached since the beginning of March and the publication of this count. Faced with this phenomenon, China closed its borders at the end of March to almost all foreigners.

The new imported cases are therefore mainly due to Chinese returning home. The health authorities in Shanghai reported on Sunday that 51 infected people, all Chinese, arrived on the same flight from Russia