Pope Francis condemned terrorism in his first Mass since the terror attacks in Brussels, and he also launched a cry for help on behalf of the millions of people worldwide who experience the pain of war, hatred or marginalization. Pope Francis urged the world in his Easter message on Sunday to use the "weapons of love" to combat the evil of "blind and brutal violence," AOL wrote in a recent report."Oh Cross of Christ, today too we see you in expressions of fundamentalism and in terrorist acts committed by followers of some religions which profane the name of God and which use the holy name to justify their unprecedented violence," Pope Francis said. "May he 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." The Pope also brought attention to the way Europe is handling the refugee crisis. Some European countries have erected barbed-wire fences and other barriers to keep out those who continue to arrive on Greek and Italian shores after risky sea voyages on smugglers' boats. Another strategy has been for some European countries to express a preference for accepting Christian refugees over Muslim ones — which would effectively rule out the vast majority of Syrian refugees.
"Easter invites us not to forget those men and women seeking a better future... 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," Francis told the tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square.
As reported by the AFP, the pontiff used his Easter address to urge people to offer "welcome and assistance" to those fleeing war and poverty, as Europe struggles with its worst migration crisis since World War II.
Countries along Europe's "Balkan route" have toughened their stance on migrants in recent weeks, closing their borders to those seeking to transit in search of a better life in the continent's wealthier northern states.
Pope Francis recently visited a refugee center where he washed the feet of Muslim, Orthodox, Hindu and Catholic refugees. The trip also marked the first time women were allowed to participate in the ceremony.
Pope Francis' words come after the attacks last Tuesday in Brussels, where some 31 people died. He has shown particular sensitivity to the victims of terrorism in the recent attacks in Belgium, Turkey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Ivory Coast.
Sunday's speech was not the first time Francis condemned the Brussels attacks. He has addressed the issue 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. Other themes the Pope also condemned in his address included the persecution of Christians, individualistic society, pedophile priests and slavery.The Pope did not forget to talk about the countries undergoing complicated internal difficulties, and he specifically cited the cases of Venezuela and Ukraine, who are currently experiencing outbreaks of international tension. Regarding the war in Ukraine, he called for a definitive solution, and expressed his hope for "the Lord of Life" to inspire humanitarian aid, "including the liberation of those who are detained." From Latin America, his home continent, Francis only spoke of Venezuela, wishing for Sunday's message to be felt not only in the people, who live in difficult conditions, but also by "those responsible for the country's future."
[Photo by Gregorio Borgia/AP Images]