Pope Francis has urged the World to use the “weapons of love” to combat the evil of “blind and brutal violence”, following the attacks in Brussels.
This was contained in his Easter message on Sunday at St Peter’s Basilica, after a week of sombre religious events commemorating Jesus’ death.
Francis, while speaking under tight security for tens of thousands of people, spoke of violence, injustice and threats to peace in many parts of the world.
“May he (the risen Jesus) draw us closer on this Easter feast to the victims of terrorism, that blind and brutal form of violence which continues to shed blood in different parts of the world.
He mentioned recent attacks in Belgium, where at least 31 people were killed by Islamist militants, as well as those in Turkey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Iraq.
“With the weapons of love, God has defeated selfishness and death.
The 79-year-old Argentine pontiff urged people to channel the hope of Easter in order to defeat “the evil that seems to have the upper hand in the life of so many people”.
The pope condemned the Brussels attacks several times during the past week, including at a Good Friday service where he said followers of religions who carried out acts of fundamentalism or terrorism were profaning God’s name.
Francis expressed the hope that recent talks could resolve the conflict in Syria in order to end the “sad wake of destruction, death, contempt for humanitarian law and the breakdown of civil concord”.
He urged Europe not to forget those men and women seeking a better future, including many children fleeing from war, hunger, poverty and social injustice.
The European Union and Turkey have agreed to stop the flow of migrants to Europe in return for political and financial concessions for Ankara.
Turkey and The Aegean islands have been the main route for migrants and refugees pouring into Europe in the past year.
Francis called for dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, and resolutions to conflicts and political tensions in Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Burundi, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Ukraine.