Pope Francis condemns Istanbul attack, says terrorism casts 'bloodstain' over world

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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis urged leaders to work together to fight the "plague of terrorism", saying in his New Year's address on Sunday that a bloodstain was covering the world as it started 2017.

Speaking to some 50,000 people in St. Peter's Square for his traditional noon address, Francis departed from his prepared text to condemn the Istanbul nightclub attack that killed at least 39 people.

"Unfortunately, violence has stricken even in this night of good wishes and hope. Pained, I express my closeness to the Turkish people. I pray for the many victims and for the wounded and for the entire nation in mourning," he said.

RELATED: New Years Istanbul nightclub attack

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An ambulance arrives near a nightclub where a gun attack took place during a New Year party in Istanbul, Turkey, January 1, 2017. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
A Turkish police officers stands guard on the site of an armed attack January 1, 2017 in Istanbul. At least two people were killed in an armed attack Saturday on an Istanbul nightclub where people were celebrating the New Year, Turkish television reports said. / AFP / YASIN AKGUL (Photo credit should read YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Turkish anti-riot police officers stand guard at the site of an armed attack January 1, 2017 in Istanbul. At least two people were killed in an armed attack Saturday on an Istanbul nightclub where people were celebrating the New Year, Turkish television reports said. / AFP / YASIN AKGUL (Photo credit should read YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)
First aid officers carry an injured woman at the site of an armed attack on January 1, 2017 in Istanbul. At least two people were killed in an armed attack Saturday on an Istanbul nightclub where people were celebrating the New Year, Turkish television reports said. / AFP / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY (Photo credit should read IHLAS NEWS AGENCY/AFP/Getty Images)
Police secure area near an Istanbul nightclub, Turkey, January 1, 2017. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
An ambulance arrives near a nightclub where a gun attack took place during a New Year party in Istanbul, Turkey, January 1, 2017. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
People flee as ambulances are on the attack site on January 1, 2017 in Istanbul. At least two people were killed in an armed attack Saturday on an Istanbul nightclub where people were celebrating the New Year, Turkish television reports said. / AFP / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY (Photo credit should read IHLAS NEWS AGENCY/AFP/Getty Images)
Turkish special force police officers and ambulances are seen at the site of an armed attack January 1, 2017 in Istanbul. At least two people were killed in an armed attack Saturday on an Istanbul nightclub where people were celebrating the New Year, Turkish television reports said. / AFP / YASIN AKGUL (Photo credit should read YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Turkish special force police officers and ambulances are seen at the site of an armed attack January 1, 2017 in Istanbul. At least two people were killed in an armed attack Saturday on an Istanbul nightclub where people were celebrating the New Year, Turkish television reports said. / AFP / YASIN AKGUL (Photo credit should read YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Police secure area near an Istanbul nightclub, Turkey, January 1, 2017. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JANUARY 1: Relatives of the victimes gather neat the area at Ortakoy district near night club Reina on January 1, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin says at least 35 dead and 40 wounded at terror attack at Istanbul's famous night club of Reina in Bosphorus shores in the new year party. (Photo by Stringer/Getty Images)
Turkish special force police officers and ambulances are seen at the site of an armed attack January 1, 2017 in Istanbul. At least two people were killed in an armed attack Saturday on an Istanbul nightclub where people were celebrating the New Year, Turkish television reports said. / AFP / YASIN AKGUL (Photo credit should read YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JANUARY 1: Turkish police secure the area at Ortakoy district near night club Reina on January 1, 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin says at least 35 dead and 40 wounded at terror attack at Istanbul's famous night club of Reina in Bosphorus shores in the new year party. (Photo by Stringer/Getty Images)
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"I ask the Lord to sustain all men of good will to courageously roll up their sleeves to confront the plague of terrorism and this stain of blood that is covering the world with a shadow of fear and a sense of loss," he said.

He said 2017 will be what people make of it.

"The year will be good in the measure that each one of us, with the help of God, seeks to do good day after day," he told the crowd on a cold morning.

Speaking on the day the 1.2 billion-member Roman Catholic Church marks its World Day of Peace, he said peace was constructed by saying 'no' to hate and violence and 'yes' to brotherhood and reconciliation.

Francis earlier said Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, where in a homily he said the lack of physical contact among people brought on by modern means of virtual communication "is cauterizing our hearts and making us lose the capacity for tenderness and wonder, for pity and compassion."

RELATED: Pope Francis holds Vatican mass for prisoners

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Pope Francis holds Vatican mass for prisoners
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Pope Francis holds Vatican mass for prisoners

Pope Francis celebrates a Holy Mass in front of a thousand prisoners, prison chaplains and volunteers in St. Peter's Basilica on November 6, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican.

(Photo by Andrea Franceschini/Corbis via Getty Images News).

Pope Francis leaves at the end of a Jubilee mass for prisoners in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican November 6, 2016.

(REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Pope Francis celebrates a Jubilee mass for prisoners in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican November 6, 2016.

(REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

A Swiss Guard on duty as Pope Francis celebrates a Holy Mass in front of a thousand prisoners, prison chaplains and volunteers in St. Peter's Basilica on November 6, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican.

(Andrea Franceschini/Corbis via Getty Images News)

Pope Francis celebrates a Jubilee mass for prisoners in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican November 6, 2016.

(REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Pope Francis celebrates a Jubilee mass for prisoners in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican November 6, 2016.

(REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Pope Francis leads a mass for the Jubilee of Inmates, on November 6, 2016 at St Peter's basilica in Vatican. One thousand prisoners -- including some lifers -- take part in a special event at the Vatican this weekend, along with 3,000 family members, prison staff and volunteers. The prisoners from 12 countries will had yesterday the opportunity to confess and walk through the 'Holy Door' at Saint Peter's Basilica, a Jubilee tradition by which Catholics can ask forgiveness for their sins.

(VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis leads the Holy Mass for Jubilee of Prisoners in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican on November 06, 2016. One thousand prisoners take part in a special event at the Vatican, along with 3,000 family members, prison staff and volunteers. The prisoners from 12 countries had yesterday the opportunity to confess and walk through the 'Holy Door' at St. Peter's Basilica, a Jubilee tradition by which Catholics can ask forgiveness for their sins.

(Photo by Giuseppe Ciccia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Pope Francis leads a mass for the Jubilee of Inmates, on November 6, 2016 at St Peter's basilica in Vatican. One thousand prisoners -- including some lifers -- take part in a special event at the Vatican this weekend, along with 3,000 family members, prison staff and volunteers. The prisoners from 12 countries will had yesterday the opportunity to confess and walk through the 'Holy Door' at Saint Peter's Basilica, a Jubilee tradition by which Catholics can ask forgiveness for their sins.

(VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis leads a mass for the Jubilee of Inmates, on November 6, 2016 at St Peter's basilica in Vatican. One thousand prisoners -- including some lifers -- take part in a special event at the Vatican this weekend, along with 3,000 family members, prison staff and volunteers. The prisoners from 12 countries will had yesterday the opportunity to confess and walk through the 'Holy Door' at Saint Peter's Basilica, a Jubilee tradition by which Catholics can ask forgiveness for their sins.

(VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis leads the Holy Mass for Jubilee of Prisoners in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican on November 06, 2016. One-thousand prisoners took part in a special event at the Vatican, along with 3,000 family members, prison staff and volunteers. The prisoners from 12 countries had yesterday the opportunity to confess and walk through the 'Holy Door' at St. Peter's Basilica, a Jubilee tradition by which Catholics can ask forgiveness for their sins.

(Photo by: Giuseppe Ciccia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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