The Pontiff was speaking on the 70th anniversary of the bombings of the Japanese cities

The atomic bomb attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki serve as “a lasting warning to humanity”, Pope Francis has said on the 70th anniversary of the bombings.

“Seventy years ago, on August 6 and 9, 1945, the terrible atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki took place. Even after so many years, this tragic event still arouses horror and revulsion,” said the Pope, who was speaking to the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square following the Angelus prayer.

“This (event) has become the symbol of mankind’s enormous destructive power when it makes a distorted use of scientific and technical progress and serves as a lasting warning to humanity so that it rejects war forever and bans nuclear weapons and all arms of mass destruction.”

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis said the “sad anniversary” of the bombing “urges us to pray and strive for peace, to spread brotherhood throughout the world and a climate of peaceful co-existence between peoples”.

He added: “May one cry rise up from every land, No to war and violence and Yes to dialogue and to peace. With war one always loses. The only way to win a war is never to wage it.”

Pope Francis also discussed the situation in El Salvador, voicing his concern for the country’s people who are suffering as a result of famine and growing violence.

“I am following with deep concern the news coming from El Salvador where recently the suffering of the population has worsened owing to the famine, the economic crisis, social clashes and growing violence,” the Pope said.

“I encourage the beloved people of El Salvador to persevere united in hope and urge everybody to pray in order that justice and peace can flower once again in the land of the Blessed Oscar Romero.”

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