VATICAN CITY, April 4: Pope Benedict XVI urged humankind to undergo a “spiritual and moral conversion” during his traditional Easter Sunday message as scandals rocked the Roman Catholic Church.
“Humanity needs... a spiritual and moral conversion,” the 82-year-old pope said in his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” message. “It needs... to emerge from a profound crisis, one which requires deep change, beginning with consciences.”
The pope also touched on key hotspots in the world, calling for a “true exodus” from conflict in the Middle East, “the land sanctified by death and resurrection (of Jesus).”
Condemning persecution and lamenting the “suffering” of Christian minorities, he said: “May the Risen Lord sustain the Christians who suffer persecution and even death for their faith, as for example in Pakistan.”
He added: “To the Christian communities who are experiencing trials and sufferings, especially in Iraq... Peace be with you.”
Top prelates rallied around the pope over the paedophile priest crisis. Easter mass kicked off with a greeting from the dean of the College of Cardinals, who told the pope: “The people of God are with you and do not allow themselves to be impressed by the idle chatter of the moment.”—AFP