Pope Francis on Tuesday evening sent a telegram to the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, extending his condolences at the killing of the Italian Ambassador, Luca Attanasio, along with an officer of Italy’s Carabinieri, Vittorio Iacovacci, and their Congolese driver (whose name has not been released), all slain in an attack Monday while they were travelling in a United Nations convoy.
“I express heartfelt condolences to their families, the diplomatic corps, and the carabinieri on the death of these servants of peace”, Pope Francis wrote.
The Holy Father praised the 43-year-old Ambassador Attanasio, who leaves behind a widow and three young children, as “a person of conspicuous human and Christian qualities,” and “prodigious” in his work to stitch together the fabric of society in the DRC, sorely tried and suffering from a quarter century of civil strife, invasion, and insurgency.
Pope Francis He praised Mr Iacovacci, a Carabiniere — the Carabinieri are Italy’s military police — who was serving as bodyguard to Attanasio and was also killed in the attack. Pope Francis described Iacovacci — 30 years old and engaged to be married in June of this year — as “expert and generous in his service,” and lamented especially that he fell while preparing “to start a new family.”
“While I lift up prayers in suffrage for the eternal repose of these noble sons of the Italian nation,” Pope Francis went on to write, “I encourage you to trust in God’s providence.” Pope Francis said that God preserves and redeems everything good, “even more so when it is confirmed through suffering and sacrifice.”