Pontiff Mourns Children Shot in Brazil School

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 11, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is expressing his “deep sadness” at a tragedy in Brazil, where a deranged man killed 10 girls and two boys Thursday at his former elementary school.

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A papal note sent Friday by the Holy Father’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, affirmed his “deep sadness over the dramatic atrocity carried out against defenseless children in a school.”

The killer, Wellington Menezes de Oliveira, 24, wounded 12 other children before being shot in the leg by a police officer and then turning one of his guns on himself.

The Pope assured “his solidarity and his spiritual consolation to the families that have lost their children and to the whole school community hoping that the wounded quickly recover.”

The Pontiff invited the inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro to “say ‘no’ to violence, which represents a path without a future, and seek to build a society founded on justice and respect for others, above all the weakest and most defenseless.”

The Bishop of Rome also sent his apostolic blessing “so that hope does not diminish in this moment of testing, and so that pardon and love prevails over hate and vengeance.”

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