message in the rain
'THE COMBAT CONTINUES'
I MPLICIT reference to those who are suffering in the present disturbances in the Union of South Africa and elsewhere on the African continent was made by Pope John XXIII in his Easter message which he delivered to the crowds of pilgrims who, despite the persistent rain, thronged St. Peter's Square. Estimates of the numbers present vary between 100,000 and 250,000.
The " tremendous combat" in which " life and death engaged " still continued on earth, said the Pope, quoting the Easter sequence Victimae Paschali. "We are all present at it and take part in it.
" On one side stands Christ, together with His representatives and His followers in the Church, raised up in holiness and brotherly love; and with the Church thus blessed there abide sound doctrine, truth, justice, and peace.
"Rallying support on the other side is the anti-Christian spirit which is error, a false idea of personal and social life, excessive power, and even physical violence, evil, and ruinous disorder. Such is the condition of life here on earth."
It was later in his address that the Pope referred to those suffering oppression, his actual words being: "Here at noon on the feast of Easter, while around us all is an invitation to spiritual joy, many —it is indeed sorrowful to us to return to this point—many of our brethren do not enjoy any kind of freedom, personal or civil or religious, but for year after year they have been enduring restraint and violence and perfecting a sacrifice wrought in silence and in continuous oppression . . .
"And our sorrowing gaze turns also to the other children of God everywhere, suffering because of race or economic conditions that are at once complex and giving reason for anxiety or through the limitation of the exercise of their natural and civil rights.
"At the same time our word of heartfelt sympathy longs to pour forth into the hearts of each one an expression of human and Christian solidarity which in the day marked by divine providence will come to flower."
The Pope ended by praying for the peace and blessing of Christ, quoting the words of Our Lord when He appeared again after He had risen from the dead: "Fear not: it is L Peace be with you: peace and blessing throughout each day—f or ever.'
Before giving his Easter blessing urbi et orbi—to the city and to ,the world--the Pope spoke a few words of Easter greetings in English, FrencU, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Pope John's face seemed to show the strain of the ceremonies of Holy Week coming soon afer
the consistorics at which he created seven new Cardinals, coupled with his concern at the unhappy state of many parts of the world today.
When, on Maundy Thursday, he performed the rite of the Mundt:tun and washed the feet of 13 young priests at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the universality of the Church in the expanded world of the 20th century was 'truly represented.
Of the 13, only one was a European. He was an Irishman. Four were Africans—from Nigeria, Tanganyika, Ruanda, and Togo, all four of which are African countries which gain their independence this year. Oceania was represented by New Zealand and Fiji; the Americas by the U.S.A., Jamaica, and Martinique; and Asia by Japan, India, and Vietnam.