Pope decries ‘natural calamities,’ ‘human tragedies’

VATICAN CITY, April 8, 2007 (AFP) – Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday decried the “suffering in the world” in his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) on Easter Sunday.

“How many wounds, how much suffering there is in the world! Natural calamities and human tragedies that cause innumerable victims and enormous material destruction are not lacking,” he said in the message beamed around the world.

“I am thinking of the scourge of hunger, of incurable diseases, of terrorism and kidnapping of people, of the thousand faces of violence which some people attempt to justify in the name of religion, of contempt for life, of the violation of human rights and the exploitation of persons,” the 79-year-old pontiff said.

“My thoughts go to recent events in Madagascar, in the Solomon Islands, in Latin America and in other regions of the world,” Benedict said from the loggia of St Peter’s Basilica to a crowd of tens of thousands filling the square as well as the main street leading up to it.

“I look with apprehension at the conditions prevailing in several regions of Africa,” in several parts of the world’s poorest continent, notably Zimbabwe, Darfur and Somalia.