Pope Benedict XVI expressed concern Monday for the "numerous victims" of religiously motivated terrorist attacks like those in Nigeria.
At a reception for international diplomats, the pope said these violent acts are on the rise, especially in Asia and Africa.
"Religion cannot be employed as a pretext for setting aside the rules of justice and of law for the sake of the intended 'good,'" Benedict said.
The pope added that the violence being seen is in fact the antithesis of religion.
Benedict also expressed hope for an end to bloodshed in Syria, as the crackdown on anti-government protestors continues.
He said he's praying for an end to violence in the country and the start of political dialogue "encouraged by the presence of independent observers."