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Pope condemns failure to help migrants

Pope Francis in Rome, 27 March

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Pope Francis also condemned terrorism as “a blind and brutal violence”

Pope Francis has condemned those who fail to help migrants, during his traditional Easter speech in Rome.

The Pope said migrants often met “rejection from those who could offer them welcome and assistance”.

He also condemned terrorism as “a blind and brutal violence” that should be fought with “weapons of love”.

The Pope was delivering his “urbi et orbi” (To the city and the world) message to thousands amid tight security in St Peter’s Square.

The Pope said: “The Easter message of the risen Christ… invites us not to forget those men and women seeking a better future, an ever more numerous throng of migrants and refugees… 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.”

Media captionPope Francis urged “hope” over “sadness” at mass on Saturday evening

Tens of thousands of migrants, mainly fleeing conflict in Syria and Iraq, are now stranded in Greece, after European nations and Turkey agreed a plan to shut their route to northern Europe.

The Pope also urged people to use the “weapons of love” to combat the evil of terrorism.

He spoke of recent attacks in Belgium, Turkey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Iraq.

“May [the risen Jesus Christ] 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,” he said.

The latest terror attack – in Brussels on Tuesday – left 31 people dead.

Many pilgrims cancelled their planned trips to Rome in the wake of the violence in Brussels, but the square was packed on Sunday, as was St Peter’s Basilica when Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Saturday evening.

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