In August, he prayed outside a prison where detained protesters were reported to have been tortured. He also demanded an investigation into reports that riot police blocked the entrance to a Catholic church in the capital, Minsk.
Despite the clampdown, protests have continued across Belarus. Ten of thousands of people took to the streets last Sunday calling for the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled the country with an iron hand since 1994.
Lukashenko claimed victory in the presidential election with 80% of the vote. His challenger, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, complained to electoral officials after they said she had earned just 10% of votes. She then fled to Lithuania fearing imprisonment.
Writing in the Washington Post Sept. 14, Tsikhanouskaya said: "As the candidate of the opposition movement, I won the majority of the votes in the Aug. 9 presidential election -- based on detailed analysis of the election results by several independent groups, which managed to scrutinize voting records in a large number of precincts despite massive government fraud."
Lukashenko visited Russian President Vladimir Putin, his closest international ally, Monday, securing a $1.5 billion loan.
After the reciting the Angelus Sept. 13, Pope Francis appealed to governments around the world to respect the "just aspirations" of protesters.
Bishop Alexander Yashevsky, an auxiliary bishop of Minsk-Mohilev archdiocese, noted that the pope's appeal was relevant to Belarus, even though he did not mention any countries by name.
The pope said: "While I urge the demonstrators to present their demands peacefully, without giving in to the temptation of aggression and violence, I appeal to all those with public and governmental responsibilities to listen to the voice of their fellow citizens and to meet their just aspirations, ensuring full respect for human rights and civil liberties."
"Finally, I invite the ecclesial communities living in such contexts, under the guidance of their Pastors, to work for dialogue, always in favour of dialogue, and in favor of reconciliation."