The Pope Honors Terrorism Victims In Brussels & Beyond At His Easter Services
At his Easter Sunday services at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, Pope Francis took some time to denounce "blind" terrorism. During his speech, the Pope honored the victims in Brussels while recalling and remembering victims of terroristic acts across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. One of his major points led into and discussed the lack of safe places for refugees to flee these heinous acts as nations continue to debate whether or not to accept these people. His general message was, as always, one of peace, solidarity, and hope, using metaphors like "weapons of love" to express his wish for salvation "before the spiritual and moral abysses of mankind."
As tens of thousands stood before him, the Pope delivered his "Urbi et Orbi" address at noon, as is tradition, despite years of Islamic extremists on social media repeatedly naming the Vatican and Rome as potential targets for attack. Likewise, Pope Francis has not altered his own practice of remaining in close physical contact with regular people. These looming threats did not deter him from his message that Jesus "triumphed over evil and sin," citing the recent attacks in Belgium, Turkey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Iraq, and praying for success in ongoing peace talks and for interreligious dialogue to end violence.
Our world is full of persons suffering in body and spirit, even as the daily news is full of stories of brutal crimes which often take place within homes, and large-scale armed conflicts which cause indescribable suffering to entire peoples.
His prayers also expressed hope for solutions to the Syrian war and for peace in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan. A large portion of his speech was devoted to the divisive issue of accepting refugees, in the wake of some European nations closing their borders and others agreeing to detain refugees in Greece with the intention of returning them to Turkey. The Pope again did his best to promote welcoming these people:
The Easter message of the risen Christ, a message of life for all humanity, echoes down the ages and invites us 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. 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.
Pope Francis has actively made strides toward stopping terroristic violence, including an offer to speak with Islamic State terrorists in an effort to bring about peace. He believes a dialogue is a necessary part of healing, which he noted on Good Friday as he decried terrorism during his services in Rome.