VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis urged the world in his Easter message on Sunday to use the "weapons of love" to combat the evil of "blind and brutal violence," following the attacks in Brussels.
After a week of somber religious events commemorating Jesus' death, Francis said an Easter Sunday Mass under tight security for tens of thousands of people in a sun-drenched St. Peter's Square.
Afterwards, in his traditional, twice-yearly "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message, he spoke of violence, injustice and threats to peace in many parts of the world.
"May he (the risen Jesus) 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, speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica.
He mentioned recent attacks in Belgium, where at least 31 people were killed by Islamist militants, as well as those in Turkey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Iraq.
"With the weapons of love, God has defeated selfishness and death," the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholic said from the same balcony from where he first appeared to the world on the night of his election on March 13, 2013.