The president of Argentina has telephoned Pope Francis to express sympathy over the death of the Pope's family members who were killed in a motor vehicle accident.

This afternoon, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner called Francis to offer him condolences on the death of his nephew's wife, Valeria Carmona, and their two small children, Jose and Antonio, according to a communique issued by the Holy See.

The Pope's nephew, Emanuel Horacio Bergoglio, 35, survived the accident, but remains in critical condition in an Argentine hospital. He is the son of the Pope's late brother, Alberto Bergoglio.

The victims died suddenly on Tuesday morning in Argentina’s Cordoba province when, according to reports, the car carrying the family traveling from Cordoba to Rosario was struck by a truck loaded with corn.

The lives claimed were those of the Pope’s two grandnephews, Antonio aged 8 months and Jose aged 2, along with their mother 39-year-old Valeria Carmona.

Yesterday, Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, said in a statement the Pope "was informed of the tragic incident that happened to some of his relatives and is deeply saddened. He asks that all those sharing in his grief join with him in prayer.”

This morning at the weekly Audience, the Pope discussed the loss, thanking the faithful present for their prayers and saying “even the Pope has a family.”


On Zenit’s Web Page:

Pope Speaks of Tragic Family Incident: