Pope Francis has decried the brutal attack against Christian families in a public park in Lahore, Pakistan, on Easter Sunday.
On Easter Monday during his Regina Caeli address, the Pontiff called for pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square to pause for a moment of prayer for the more than 70 victims, who primarily were Christian families, and their loved ones.
“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.
Calling the acts “reprehensible” and saying they “bloodied” Easter, the Pope stated, “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.”
“I repeat, once again,” Francis continued, “that violence and murderous hatred lead only to pain and destruction; respect and fraternity are the only way to achieve peace.”
The Holy Father also stressed that the Lord’s Passover inspires all faithful to pray even more powerfully for an end to the spreading of violence, terror, and death, and “for love, justice and reconciliation to reign in the world.”
After his appeal, the Pope invited those gathered to join him in saying a Hail Mary for the victims and their families.