Pope Francis has prayed for the end of “terror and death” of innocents as he expressed closeness to families and all of France mourning the loss of lives, “even of many children,” in the Nice lorry attack.
Francis told the public in St Peter’s Square on Sunday that “sorrow is great in our hearts” for the massacre in the southern French city last week, and prayed that God sustain the wounded and comfort relatives.
He prayed that God “disperse every plan for terror and for death, so that no man dare spill more blood of his brother.”
Francis then offered “a paternal and fraternal embrace for all of Nice’s inhabitants and all of France,” and invited those in the square to join him in silent prayer for the 84 Nice victims and their families.
According to La Stampa, Pope Francis phoned the Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, to offer his assistance in the aftermath of the attack. The Pope asked the Mayor, “What can I do for you?”, and said he would meet with the families of the victims.
On Friday, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, sent a message on behalf of Pope Francis to Archbishop André Marceau of Nice expressing the Pope’s deep sorrow at the attack that took place on Thursday night.
Archbishop André Marceau of Nice told Vatican Radio he experienced shock and fear following news of the terrorist attack, Catholic News Service reports.
“(The attack) was one of those insane acts that can arise in the hearts of men — and in this case, one man. How can it be reasonably possible that man can be the author of such carnage?” he asked.
The bishop said he hoped compassion and closeness would overcome the “scandal of evil” that might “rightly arouse hate, misunderstanding and closed-mindedness.”
“We must find a way to avoid this at all cost,” he told Vatican Radio. “The message I bring is that which, above all, calls people to be close to one another, to speak, to meet with each other.”