Pope Francis has offered prayers for the victims of Saturday’s suicide bombing in Turkey.
51 people were killed in the blast and a further 69 people were injured, including women and children, as they danced in the street at a Kurdish wedding party in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said it was likely that ISIS was behind the attack and claimed it was carried out by a child aged between 12 and 14.
However, Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the age of the bomber could not be confirmed.
“We are not in a position to verify anything about who the perpetrator was – if it was a child, an adult, or for which organisation,” Yildrim said.
After reciting the Angelus prayer in St Peter’s Square on Sunday, Pope Francis said “sad news” had reached him about the “the bloody attack” carried out in “dear Turkey.”
“Let us pray for the victims, for the dead and the injured, and we ask for the gift of peace for all,” the Pope added.
Francis also led the crowd in the square in praying the Hail Mar for the victims of the suicide bombing.
Meanwhile, the Pope also told pilgrims gathered in the Vatican that “life is not a video game or a soap opera.”
The “narrow gate” to salvation described by Jesus isn’t narrow because God is oppressive, but because pride bloats Christians and prevents them from entering God’s merciful embrace, Pope Francis said.
Christians “must seize the opportunities of salvation” and not waste time on trivial things before the gate is closed, the Pope told the faithful.
In the day’s Gospel reading, Jesus calls on his followers to “strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”
By using the imagery of the narrow gate, Jesus tells his listeners that the question of how many will be saved is not as important as knowing “which path leads to salvation,” the Pope said.
He added: “It is a narrow gate to restrict our pride and our fear; it is a wide open gate because God welcomes us without distinction. And the salvation he gives us is a never-ending stream of mercy that breaks down every barrier and opens up surprising perspectives of light and peace.”