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Leaders preach Easter message of peace and love


Senior religious leaders have delivered their Easter messages, preaching a message of peace and forgiveness. The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, has acknowledged the suffering of people at the hands of the Catholic Church. Cardinal Pell echoed the words of the newly elected Pope Francis, and quoted his namesake. "Once again again the Easter message comes from Francis of Assisi," he said. "Peace and goodness; especially to those who are suffering, to those wounded by Catholic Church members, to the sick, the depressed, the bereaved, those experiencing misfortune. "Christ asks us to announce the peace of Easter to each and everyone... So happy Easter and Easter peace."

Peter Jensen gave his last Easter message in his role as Anglican Archbishop of Sydney. Dr Jensen, who retires in July, says Easter fills him with hope, through forgiveness. "What happened at the first Easter reminds me of the love of God," Dr Jensen said. "Through the death of Jesus, even I and all of us can have forgiveness. "As I think back on my time as Archbishop, naturally I look back and try to judge myself, not with much success. "But like you I have a real judge. Think how much more God, who knows all the secrets of our hearts, must be able to hold me to account. "It should make us tremble but I am filled with hope. Why? Because of Easter. "Our failures are not the last word over our lives and, through the resurrection of Jesus, I have a great and undeserved hope of my own resurrection and future. "I can only quote the words of John Newton, the man who wrote the song Amazing Grace. 'I am a great sinner but Christ is a great saviour. Thank the love of God for that.'"

The president of the Uniting Church in Australia, Reverend Professor Andrew Dutney, says Easter is a time to remind people of the victory of love over hate.