In his annual Easter address to the public, Pope Francis expressed condolences for the many victims of terrorism around the world and hope that the world would use “weapons of love” to combat the “blind and brutal violence.”
He urged his followers to use the spirit of Easter to counter “the evil that seems to have the upper hand in the life of so many people.”
From the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica, he acknowledged recent attacks in Belgium, Turkey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Iraq.
Previously, Francis had expressed his condolences for an attack on a soccer stadium in Iraq that left 40 dead and for which ISIS claimed responsibility. He had written that he hoped the Iraqi people would “be strengthened in their resolve to reject the ways of hatred and conflict to work together.”
In addition, he voiced hope that the current peace talks surrounding the civil war in Syria would be successful and bring an end to the “sad wake of destruction, death, contempt for humanitarian law and the breakdown of civil concord.”
He also reiterated his support for the thousands of refugees continuing to pour into Europe, encouraging his audience “not to forget those men and women seeking a better future, an ever more numerous throng of migrants and refugees, including many children, fleeing from war, hunger, poverty and social injustice.” He expressed sadness over the increasingly unwelcoming way European governments treat refugees, reminding his listeners “all too often, these brothers and sisters of ours meet along the way with death or, in any event, rejection by those who could offer them welcome and assistance.”