Use 'weapons of love' to fight evil of terrorism, pope says on Easter

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Pope Francis Decries Terror in Easter Address

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.

Click through images from the Pope at Palm Sunday services:

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Use 'weapons of love' to fight evil of terrorism, pope says on Easter
Pope Francis greets cardinals at the end of the Palm Sunday mass at St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (R) walks past cardinals at the end of the Palm Sunday mass at St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
A general view shows the crowd in St Peter's square during the Palm Sunday mass on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (C) leads the Palm Sunday mass at St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (C) leads the Palm Sunday mass at St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Swiss guards stand on St Peter's square before the Palm Sunday mass on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (L) walks past a cross during the Palm Sunday mass in St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (C) swings a censer during the Palm Sunday mass in St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (L) is helped by Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations Guido Marini (R) during the Palm Sunday mass in St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Worshipers walk with palms and olive branches during the Palm Sunday mass in St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Swiss Guards chat before the Palm Sunday mass in St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Cardinals walk in a procession during the Palm Sunday mass in St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis holds a palm during the Palm Sunday mass in St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis waves to the crowd at the end of the Palm Sunday mass at St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis waves to the crowd next to Christoph Graf (L), Commander of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, Pope's butler Sandro Mariotti (2ndL) and Vatican security chief Domenico Giani (R) at the end of the Palm Sunday mass at St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis greets the crowd as he stands on the popemobile after the Palm Sunday mass at St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis walks at the end of the Palm Sunday mass at St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis greets the crowd as he stands on the popemobile surrounded by bodyguards after the Palm Sunday mass at St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis greets the crowd as he stands on the popemobile surrounded by bodyguards after the Palm Sunday mass at St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO / AFP / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (C) leads the Palm Sunday mass in St Peter's square on March 20, 2016 in Vatican. Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of the Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
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"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.

The 79-year-old Argentine pontiff urged people to channel the hope of Easter in order to defeat "the evil that seems to have the upper hand in the life of so many people."

The pope condemned the Brussels attacks several times during the past week, including at a Good Friday service where he said followers of religions who carried out acts of fundamentalism or terrorism were profaning God's name..

The former king and queen of Belgium, Albert II and Paola, who is Italian, attended the Mass and the pope greeted them afterwards.

In other parts of his address, Francis expressed the hope that recent talks could resolve the conflict in Syria in order to end the "sad wake of destruction, death, contempt for humanitarian law and the breakdown of civil concord."

He urged Europe "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."

The European Union and Turkey have agreed to stop the flow of migrants to Europe in return for political and financial concessions for Ankara. Turkey and The Aegean islands have been the main route for migrants and refugees pouring into Europe in the past year.

Francis called for dialog between Israelis and Palestinians, and resolutions to conflicts and political tensions in Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Burundi, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Ukraine.

Security was very tight around the square, which was bedecked with more than 35,000 flowers and plants donated by the Netherlands.

Police checked people several times at various points along the approach the square and subjected those with entry tickets to body and bag searches even before they passed through metal detectors. Security sources said police reinforcements had arrived in Rome from other Italian cities.

Islamic State militants have made threats against Catholic targets in Rome. Last year, a website used by militants ran a photo montage showing the movement's black flag flying from the obelisk at the center of St Peter's Square.

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