By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Pope Francis has mourned the victims of the terrorist attack in Nice, France, this morning, expressing his closeness to the French people, and reminding that ‘terrorism and violence can never be accepted.’ He also called on the ‘beloved’ people of France to see others as brothers and sisters, and to react to evil with good.

This was at the heart of the Vatican’s statement today, Oct. 29, issued by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, after this morning’s attack in the Cathedral of Nice.

While beginning saying this “is a moment of pain, in a time of confusion,” it continues, underscoring: “Terrorism and violence can never be accepted.”

“Today’s attack has sown death in a place of love and consolation, as is the house of the Lord. The Pope is informed on the situation and he is close to the Catholic community in mourning.

“He prays for the victims and for their dear ones, that violence may cease, that a return is made to look at one another as brothers and sisters and not as enemies, that the beloved French people may react united to evil with goodness.”

This morning’s attack in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Nice — in which three people were killed –, was called a ‘terrorist attack’ by the French city’s Mayor.

Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, also sent a telegram to Bishop of Nice, André Marceau, on the Pope’s behalf.

“Informed of the savage attack that was perpetrated this morning in a church in Nice, causing the death of several innocent people,” it began, “His Holiness Pope Francis joins in prayer with the suffering of families affected and shares their grief.”

“The Pope asks the Lord,” it continued, “to bring them comfort and he commends the victims to His mercy.

“Condemning in the strongest possible way such violent acts of terror,” it added, Pope Francis “assures  his closeness to the Catholic Community of France and all the French people,” calling for unity.

The telegram concludes with the Pope entrusting France to the protection of Notre-Dame, giving his heartfelt Apostolic Blessing to all those affected by the tragedy.

The Ministry of the Interior had foreseen the risk of attacks on religious sites, so much so as to reinforce the surveillance of churches and mosques. Today’s tragedy follows the murder of Samuel Paty, the Professor accused of blasphemy by Muslims for having shown in class two irreverent cartoons against Mohammed published by Charlie Hebdo.

Pope Francis also issued a tweet on the tragedy.

“I am close to the Catholic community of #Nice, mourning the attack that sowed death in a place of prayer and consolation. I pray for the victims, for their families and for the beloved French people, that they may respond to evil with good,” it said.

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), in a statement from Alfredo Mantovano, President of ACN – Italy, expressed the papal foundation’s “closeness to the French Catholic community, in condemning the umpteenth terrorist act and prays for the victims and the wounded.”

“And,” the ACN-Italy President continued, “it reminds that the need for a frank, civil and non-superficial confrontation with Islam, must be united to the awareness that prevention and criminal repression are the only answers for the Islamist extremists, especially for those responsible of the crimes, without hypocrisy or implicit justifications. But this must be accompanied by the awareness that the answer to radicalism that instrumentalizes religion and strikes the person cannot be the claim of a misunderstood “freedom” of expression, which offends and mocks the symbols of faith of any Confession.”

“More courage is expected from European intellectuals and media in the denunciation of extremisms, especially when they persecute individual faithful or peaceful religious minorities and, at the same time,” he continued, “a clear distancing is expected from that secularism that, in the name of freedom, violates the natural rights of individuals and groups and offends religious sentiment: an error is never combated with an error of the opposite sign. ”

Here is the full message from the Holy See Press Office:

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Communication to Journalists: Attack in the Cathedral of Nice

In regard to the recent attack in the Cathedral of Nice, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, affirmed the following:

“It is a moment of pain, in a time of confusion. Terrorism and violence can never be accepted. Today’s attack has sown death in a place of love and consolation, as is the house of the Lord. The Pope is informed on the situation and he is close to the Catholic community in mourning. He prays for the victims and for their dear ones, that violence may cease, that a return is made to look at one another as brothers and sisters and not as enemies, that the beloved French people may react united to evil with goodness.”

The post Pope Francis Prays for Victims in Latest Attack on Catholics in France: ‘Terrorism & Violence Can Never Be Accepted’ appeared first on ZENIT – English.

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