Pope Francis used his first Easter Sunday address to call for world peace and a diplomatic solution to the tense North Korean standoff.
Celebrating his first Easter Sunday Mass as pontiff in St. Peter's Square, packed with pilgrims, tourists and Romans, Francis first took a moment to reflect as the Gospel was sung in Latin — recounting the resurrection of Jesus after this death by crucifixion, a central tenant of the Christian faith.
Francis addressed, dressed in full white, traveled through the square riding atop the white Pope mobile, pausing to greet a young girl and stopping to kiss a baby, CNN reported.
Reuters cited him as calling — in his first "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message, delivered from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica — for "peace between Israelis and Palestinians, an end to the civil war in Syria, and political solutions to conflicts in several African countries."
Meanwhile, Francis decried a greedy affluent world looking for `'easy gain," the Associated Press reported, also condemned the "iniquitous exploitation of natural resources".
The former Argentine former cardinal, who has made defense of nature an early hallmark of his pontificate, urged everyone to be "guardians" of creation.
Speaking in Italian, he specified his desire for peace between the Koreas, further aggravated Saturday by North Korea's announcement that it was entering a "state of war" with South Korea:
"Peace in Asia, above all on the Korean peninsula: may disagreements be overcome and a renewed spirit of reconciliation grow."
Prospects for a diplomatic solution appears dim, however, with Reuters pointing out that the North's new leader, Kim Jong-un, ordered a third nuclear weapons test in February despite warnings not to do so from his country's sole major ally, China.
Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, was elected March 13, succeeding Pope Benedict XVI.
He became the first non-European pope of the modern era, the first from Latin America, the first Jesuit and the first to assume the name Francis.