Pope prays for easing of ‘severe restrictions’ on public worship

Pope Francis has used his traditional Easter message to pray for an end to restrictions in parts of the world that have banned Christians from worshipping together at the most important feast in the Christian calendar.

The Pope’s prayer – delivered in his Urbi et Orbi address from St Peter’s Basilica – comes as religious believers in the Irish Republic face some of the most draconian restrictions in Europe.

Pope Francis said: “once again this year, in various places many Christians have celebrated Easter under severe restrictions and, at times, without being able to attend liturgical celebrations.

“We pray that those restrictions, as well as all restrictions on freedom of worship and religion worldwide, may be lifted and everyone be allowed to pray and praise God freely,” the Pontiff said.