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Pope Francis Calls for Reduction or Forgiveness of Poor Nations' Debt in Face of Covid-19 Pandemic

Agencies

Last Updated: April 12, 2020, 16:42 IST

Rome

For representation: Pope Francis celebrates Easter Sunday Mass behind closed doors due to an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. (Reuters)

For representation: Pope Francis celebrates Easter Sunday Mass behind closed doors due to an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. (Reuters)

In a livestreamed Easter message from an empty Saint Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis called for solidarity the world over to confront the “epochal challenge” posed by the global health crisis.

Pope Francis on Sunday called for the reduction or forgiveness of the debt of poor nations suffering in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

"May all nations be put in a position to meet the greatest needs of the moment through the reduction, if not the forgiveness, of the debt burdening the balance sheets of the poorest nations," the Pope said in a livestreamed Easter message from an empty Saint Peter's Basilica.

He called for solidarity the world over to confront the “epochal challenge” posed by the global health crisis and urged political leaders in particular to give hope and opportunity to laid-off workers.

Francis urged world leaders to initiate sanctions relief and cease-fires to calm conflicts and financial crises around the globe.

He offered special prayers for the sick, the dead, the elderly, refugees and the poor. He also offered thanks and encouragement to doctors and nurses who have worked “to the point of exhaustion and not infrequently at the expense of their own health.”

Francis urged the European Union to step up to the “epochal challenge” posed by COVID-19 and resist the tendency of selfishness and division. He recalled that Europe rose again after World War II “thanks to a concrete spirit of solidarity that enabled it to overcome the rivalries of the past.”

He said “this is not a time for self-centredness, because the challenge we are facing is shared by all, without distinguishing between persons.”
first published:April 12, 2020, 16:33 IST
last updated:April 12, 2020, 16:42 IST