VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis told the faithful in St. Peter's Square that he was pained by the news of two terror attacks against churches in Pakistan and called for an end of persecution against Christians.
The pontiff said during his traditional Sunday prayer that the numerous dead and injured were persecuted “only because they are Christians”.
Pope Francis said he felt great pain over bomb attacks outside two churches in Pakistan, departing from scripted remarks in his customary address to decry “persecution” of Christians.
“These are Christian churches. Christians are persecuted, our brothers spill their blood simply because they are Christians,” the pontiff said after his Angelus address.
Francis told crowds at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican that he prayed for peace in the country and that “this persecution of Christians, and that the world tries to hide it, finishes”.
The pontiff spoke after suicide bombers exploded themselves near two churches in Lahore on Sunday as worshippers were gathered inside. At least 14 people were killed in the blasts, claimed by a Pakistani Taliban splinter group, and nearly 80 people got injured.
Francis said he was praying for the victims and their families and that he “implored God, the source of all good, the gift of peace...for that country, and that this persecution against Christians, that the world tries to hide, ends.”