VATICAN CITY, JULY 25, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is calling for all to “abandon the way of hate” and to “flee the logic of evil” in the wake of a pair of terrorist attacks in Norway that left 76 people dead and many more injured.
After praying the midday Angelus on Sunday with those gathered at the papal residence in Castel Gandolfo, the Pope said: “To our dismay once again news has arrived of death and violence. We all experience a deep sorrow for the grave terroristic acts that occurred on Friday in Norway.”
The first attack was a bomb explosion in Oslo outside the office of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg that killed eight people. A few hours later, a gunman dressed as a police officer began shooting at a youth camp on the island of Utoya, killing 68. Authorities arrested 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik of Norway in connection with both attacks.
“Let us pray for the victims, for the wounded and for their loved ones,” the Pope said. “To all, I wish to repeat the urgent call to abandon the way of hate forever and to flee from the logic of evil.”
On Saturday, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state, sent a message of condolence in the name of Benedict XVI to King Harald V of Norway.
“Profoundly saddened by the news of the great loss of life caused by the acts of senseless violence perpetrated in Oslo and Utøya,” the note began, “His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI offers fervent prayers for the victims and their families, invoking God’s peace upon the dead and divine consolation upon those who suffer.”
“At this time of national grief,” the message continued, “he prays that all Norwegians will be spiritually united in a determined resolve to reject the ways of hatred and conflict and to work together fearlessly in shaping a future of mutual respect, solidarity and freedom for coming generations.”