(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Easter Monday called for pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square to pause for a moment of prayer for the victims of the terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan, which killed more than 70 people, mostly Christian families celebrating Easter Sunday in a public park.
During his Regina Coeli address, Pope Francis called the attack “reprehensible” and said it “bloodied” Easter.
“I wish to express my closeness to all those affected by this cowardly and senseless crime, and ask you to pray to the Lord for the numerous victims and their loved ones,” Pope Francis said.
“I appeal to the civil authorities and to all the social components of [Pakistan] to do everything possible to restore security and peace to the population and, in particular, to the most vulnerable religious minorities,” the Pope continued.
“I repeat, once again, that violence and murderous hatred lead only to pain and destruction; respect and fraternity are the only way to achieve peace,” – the Holy Father said – “The Passover of the Lord inspires in us, in an even more powerful way, prayers to God so that he stops the hands of the violent, who spread terror and death; and makes it possible for love, justice and reconciliation to reign in the world.”
After his remarks, Pope Francis led those gathered in St. Peter’s Square in a “Hail Mary” for the victims and their families.