The Pope has condemned recent deadly attacks around the world, including on MP David Amess in Essex, consoling the families of victims and calling violence “a defeat for everyone”.
“Last week various attacks were carried out, for example in Norway, Afghanistan, England, which caused many deaths and injuries,” Francis said, after greeting the public in St Peter’s Square for his customary Sunday remarks and blessings delivered from a window of the Apostolic Palace.
“I express my closeness to the families of the victims,” he said.
Mr Amess was fatally stabbed at a constituency surgery on Friday, and police are investigating it as a terrorist act.
In Norway, a bow-and-arrow attack claimed five lives and left three people wounded, and in southern Afghanistan, a suicide bombing at a mosque killed 47 people and wounded scores more. The so-called Islamic State group claimed responsibility.
Francis said: “I implore you, please, to abandon the path of violence, which is always a losing one, is a defeat for all. Let’s remember that violence generates violence.”
Norwegian police have been criticised for reacting too slowly to contain the massacre in the town of Kongsberg, acknowledging that the five deaths occurred after officers first encountered the attacker, a 37-year-old local resident who, authorities say, has admitted to the killings and is undergoing psychiatric evaluation.
In Afghanistan, relatives of those killed by the bombing at a Shiite mosque in Kandahar province called on the ruling Taliban to protect them.