In his annual Easter mass, Pope Benedict called for peace in the world, citing specifically the regions of Iraq, Tibet and Darfur. He also baptized an Egyptian born Muslim man, which the Vatican explained in a statement released earlier, was in the spirit of Christianity as all newcomers to the religion are "equally important before God's love and welcome in the community of the Church".
The National Post reports:
The pope, who turns 81 next month, celebrated an Easter Mass for tens of thousands of people in driving rain in St Peter's Square as Christians around the world commemorated Christ's resurrection.
The Sunday mass came hours after an Easter vigil service on Saturday night where, in a surprise move, the pope baptised Muslim-born convert Magdi Allam, 55, an outspoken journalist and fierce critic of Islamic extremism
…"These are the scourges of humanity, open and festering in every corner of the planet, although they are often ignored and sometimes deliberately concealed; wounds that torture the souls and bodies of countless of our brothers and sisters," he said.
He called for "an active commitment to justice ... in areas bloodied by conflict and wherever the dignity of the human person continues to be scorned and trampled".
"It is hoped that these are precisely the places where gestures of moderation and forgiveness will increase!," he said, specifically mentioning Darfur, Somalia, the Holy Land, Iraq, Lebanon and Tibet.
He then wished the world a happy Easter in 63 Languages.
To all those celebrating, may you have a happy and peaceful Easter Sunday.
- Annie Noa Kenet, Toronto