Pope Denounces ‘Oppressive Regimes’ in Easter Speech

In a service before tens of thousands of people at St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday, Pope France condemned “oppressive regimes” and called on world leaders to exercise restraint in the face of rising tensions. “In the complex and often dramatic situations of today's world, may the Risen Lord guide the steps of all those who work for justice and peace. May he grant the leaders of nations the courage they need to prevent the spread of conflicts and to put a halt to the arms trade,” Pope Francis said. Although he didn’t name any specific governments in his call for restraint, his comments come amid increased fears of U.S. military action against a belligerent North Korea, which has threatened retaliation against U.S. forces conducting drills on the Korean Peninsula. They also come after a U.S. air strike on a Syrian air field earlier this month, as well as last week’s bombing of Afghanistan by the U.S. Pope Francis also went on to single out Syria’s recent bus bombing, in which more than 100 people died. Denouncing the blast as an “ignoble” attack, he asked God to bring healing to civilians in the “beloved and martyred Syria.”