The Bishops’ Conference of France has condemned the “unspeakable” knife attacks in Notre Dame church in Nice, which left three people dead.
“We are moved, touched, and in a state of astonishment at this unspeakable act”, Father Hugues de Woillemont said, on behalf of the Conference (la Conférence des évêques de France). “There is an urgent need to combat this poison that is terrorism”, he further said.
The president of the Conference, Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims, tweeted “my very special prayers for the diocesan people of Nice and Bishop Marceau. May they know how to sustain themselves in this trial and support those who are tested in their flesh”. He also reminded his followers of the need to acknowledge the souls of those murdered in Mass this Sunday. “On Sunday, for All Saints, we will hear the Lord: Blessed are the peacemakers, they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who persecute you for my sake for your reward will be great in heaven.”
The attack, believed to be motivated by Islamist extremism, has also prompted a statement from the French Council for the Muslim Faith. “As a sign of mourning and solidarity with the victims and their loved ones, I call on all Muslims in France to cancel all the celebrations of the holiday of Mawlid”, said a representative.
French President Emmanuel Macron has visited Nice and denounced what he called an “Islamist terrorist attack”. He promised the “support of the whole nation to the Catholics of France and elsewhere”.
“If we are attacked once again it is for the values which are ours: the freedom, for this possibility on our soil to believe freely and not to give in to any spirit of terror. I say it with great clarity once again today: we won’t surrender anything” said the president.
France has raised its status to “terror attack emergency” following the attacks.