— Catholic Herald, Rome — Pope Francis is informed of the deadly knife attacks on Thursday morning near Notre Dame church in Nice, and offers prayers of suffrage for the victims and their families. He condemns the violence and expresses his prayerful closeness to the entire Christian community of the city.
Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni issued a statement shortly after 1pm Rome Time on Thursday, calling the present “a moment of pain, and a time of confusion.”
A knife-wielding attacker killed three people and injured several others this morning around 9am in Nice, before police shot and injured the suspect, now in hospital under guard. French anti-terrorist police are leading the investigation.
Bruni’s statement goes on to say: “[Thursday’s] attack has sown death in a place of love and consolation.”
Pope Francis “prays for the victims and for their dear ones, for an end to violence, that all return to regard one another as brothers and sisters, not as enemies: in order that the beloved French people might respond to evil with good, united.” Later on Thursday, Pope Francis sent a telegram expressing his condolences to the Bishop of Nice, in which he condemned the attack in “the strongest possible terms” and renewed his assurances of spiritual closeness to all who mourn.
Earlier in the day, Mayor Christian Estrosi of Nice visited the scene and tweeted: “[O]ur country can no longer be satisfied with the laws … destroy Islamo-fascism.”
The French Council for the Muslim Faith also condemned the attacks. A representative released a statement calling on Muslims in France to cancel festivities for Mawlid, the celebration of the birth of the Muhammad, the founder of Islam: “As a sign of mourning and solidarity with the victims and their loved ones,” the statement calls on “all Muslims in France to cancel all the celebrations of the holiday of Mawlid.”
Below, please find the Catholic Herald’s English translation of the statement from Holy See Press Office director Matteo Bruni.
Statement from Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni
This is a moment of pain, in a time of confusion. Terrorism and violence can never be accepted. Today’s [Thursday’s] attack has sown death in a place of love and consolation, such as a house of the Lord. The Pope is informed of the situation and is near to the mourning Catholic community. He prays for the victims and their dear ones, for an end to violence, that all return to regard one another as brothers and sisters, not as enemies: in order that the beloved French people might respond to evil with good, united.
*This story has been updated to include details regarding Pope Francis’s telegram, which was sent a short time after the statement from the Press Office.
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