Pope John Paul II issued an urgent appeal for peace in the Middle East, during his Easter Sunday address in St Peter's Square today. "Nothing is resolved by war," he told a crowd of 50,000 pilgrims in St Peter's Square. "It seems as if war has been declared on peace," he said. "No one can remain silent and inactive, neither political or religious leader." "With trepidation and hope I ask you to proclaim that Jesus is truly risen, and to work so that his peace may end the tragic sequence of attacks and killings that bloody the Holy Land, plunged again in these very days into horror and despair," he said. The Pope also asked the congregation to remember those suffering throughout the world, particularly in Afghanistan. Although he is suffering from Parkinson's disease and arthritis, and has difficulty walking, the 81-year-old pontiff presided over all the Easter ceremonies. Pope John Paul celebrated Midnight Mass in St Peter's Basilica, for most of the time seated in a chair, speaking and singing in a firm voice. But many of the prayers at the service were read by cardinals in his place. During the vigil the Pope baptised nine people from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Albania, Japan, Poland, China and Italy.
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