April 4, 2016

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis appealed to the government of Pakistan to take steps to ensure the safety of the country's Christians and other minorities.

The pope's appeal came March 28, the day after a terrorist bombing killed at least 70 people and injured more than 300 who were spending Easter afternoon in a public park.

In Lahore, Pakistan, the pope said, "Easter was bloodied by a hideous attack, which massacred many innocent people, mostly families belonging to the Christian minority - especially women and children - who were in a public park joyfully celebrating the Easter holiday."

After reciting the Regina Coeli prayer with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square March 28, the pope condemned the Lahore attack as a "cowardly and senseless crime."

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a splinter group of the Taliban, said it carried out the attack and specifically targeted Christians celebrating Easter.

Pope Francis appealed to "the civil authorities and all community leaders in that nation to do everything possible to ensure the security and serenity of the population, particularly the most vulnerable religious minorities."