Pope repudiates 'martyr' moniker for suicide bombers

Pope Francis has repudiated the idea that suicide bombers can be considered "martyrs," saying true martyrs don't harm others but rather are meek, honest and persecuted for their faith as true children of God.

Francis dedicated his weekly Wednesday catechism lesson to the strength of martyrs, returning once again to an issue he has raised frequently amid Islamic extremist attacks against Christian minorities in the Middle East and elsewhere.

He said: "Christians are repelled by the idea that suicide bombers can be called 'martyrs.' There's nothing in them that can be even close to the attitude of children of God."

Francis has lamented that there are more Christian martyrs today than in the times of the early church. He has demanded Muslim leaders reject committing violence in God's name.