Pope's Easter message repeats call for peace

 On Sunday, Pope John Paul II called on world leaders to resolve conflicts in Iraq, the Middle East and Africa, and used his Easter message to pray that hope will conquer the "inhuman" and growing phenomenon of terrorism. He said: "May the culture of life and love render vain the logic of death." The Pope delivered the message in his traditional "Urbi et Orbi" blessing as he celebrated Easter Mass on the flower-decked steps of St Peter's Basilica, before tens of thousands of people. "I pray to the risen Lord that all of us baptised may soon be able to together relive this fundamental feast of our faith each year on the same day," he said. Speaking strongly and clearly, despite having struggled through a hectic Holy Week schedule, ending in the Easter Vigil hours earlier, Pope John Paul urged the faithful to find the courage to confront the many evils facing the world today. "In particular, may we find the strength to face the inhuman and unfortunately growing phenomenon of terrorism, which rejects life and brings anguish and uncertainty to the daily lives of so many hard-working and peaceful people," he said. "May world leaders be confirmed and sustained in their efforts to resolve satisfactorily the continuing conflicts that cause bloodshed in certain regions of Africa, Iraq and the Holy Land," he said. At one point during the Mass, he laughed heartily as a toddler in traditional Asian dress struggled up the stairs of the basilica toward him with her parents and brother to present offerings. He reached out to her and blessed her and the rest of the family. Later, he delivered his annual Easter greetings in 62 different languages - including Aramaic, Hebrew and Hindi - to loud applause and cheers from the crowds. Yesterday, looking much more tired, Pope John Paul II repeated his Easter greetings during a short public audience from the window of his apartment. "I confide all the concerns and hopes, all the worries and fears of the whole world, to the mother of the crucified and resurrected Jesus," the Pope said.

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