Pope Laments Air France Tragedy

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 2, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is expressing his sorrow upon receiving the news of an Air France accident that claimed 228 lives on a flight en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

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The Pope sent a message through Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pontiff’s secretary of state, to Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli, who was apostolic nuncio in France until today’s appointment as major penitentiary of the apostolic penitentiary.

The aircraft disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean on Monday. The Holy Father expressed his profound condolences to the families in mourning and assured them of his “spiritual closeness to all those that were touched by this drama.”

In the message, written in French, Benedict XVI entrusted the deceased to divine mercy, “asking that God Almighty embrace them in his peace and his light.”

The Pope gave his apostolic blessing to all those people affected by the tragedy, “asking God to give his support and consolation to all the harshly tested people,” and hoping that they “can find the help that they need around them in these hours of anguish.”

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