Pope and bishops condemn Paris attacks and appeal for peace

Pope Francis has expressed his sympathy to those bereaved by last week’s terror attack at the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. 

A telegram from Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, said Pope Francis “joins in prayer with the pain of the bereaved families and the sadness of all the French”, and prays that God might welcome the victims of the attack “into His light”. 

“Imploring God to give the gift of peace”, he reiterated his condemnation of the violence.

Vatican spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi, said Pope Francis had strongly condemned the attack as “abhorrent”, saying “any incitement to hatred should be refused”, and expressing his support for those who work “for peace, justice and the law.” 

He said that “Pope Francis joins in prayer for the suffering of the wounded and the families of the deceased and calls upon all to oppose by all means the spread of hatred and all forms of violence”.

The @Pontifex Twitter account was also used to ask for prayers, with “#PrayersforParis” being retweeted almost 5,000 times in under two hours.

Joint declaration

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue published a joint declaration with four French imams, denouncing the attack and insisting that failure to protect freedom of speech endangers the world.

France’s bishops have expressed their “profound grief and horror” at the attack, describing the terror as “obviously unspeakable” and calling for redoubled efforts for peace in a situation “where anger can invade us”.