Pope Francis calls for ‘weapons of love’ to combat the ‘brutal violence’ of terrorism in the wake of the Brussels attack
- Some 35,000 people gathered in St Peter’s Square, in the Vatican, as Pope Francis celebrated Easter Sunday Night
- He used his annual message to urge followers to use ‘weapons of love’ to combat the ‘brutal violence’ of terrorism
- The pontiff paid tribute to the 31 people who were killed in the Brussels atrocities, as well as in other terror attacks
- Pilgrims and tourists were subject to tight security checks, with police officers checking bags and identification
Pope Francis urged the world to use ‘weapons of love’ to combat the ‘brutal violence’ of terrorism as he delivered his Easter Sunday message.
Addressing millions of Catholics across the world, the Pope remembered the 31 victims of the Brussels atrocities, as well as those who have lost their lives in terror attacks in Turkey, Nigeria, Chad and Iraq.
He also used the message to remind Europe to ‘not forget… migrants and refugees fleeing from war, hunger and poverty’ and to call for dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. After the homily, the Pope greeted thousands of worshippers from his ‘Popemobile’.
Some 35,000 pilgrims flocked to the Vatican to celebrate Mass, although photographs appear to show a smaller crowd than in previous years.
Visitors faced tight security checks on their way in to St Peter’s Square, with police officers carrying out bag and body searches at a number of check points. Security sources said police reinforcements had arrived in Rome from other Italian cities ahead of the event.
It comes amid claims the terrorists responsible for the Brussels bombings, which killed at least 31 people, had originally planned to strike religious services over Easter weekend. One security source told the Sunday Express the Vatican might have been the intended target.
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