Pope Francis denounced today’s attack by terrorists at the offices of Paris magazine Charlie Hebdo in a statement released by the Holy See Press Office . The bishops’ conference of France also released a statement condemning the deadly attack.
Two hooded men, armed with Kalashnikov submachine guns, stormed the offices and opened fire at journalists, murdering 12. The attack is believed to be in retaliation to caricatures of the prophet Mohammad printed three years ago. A cartoon of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was tweeted earlier before the attacks.
Video taken by witnesses show the gunmen shouting “God is great” and “We have avenged the prophet!” before fleeing the scene.
In a statement released by Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, Pope Francis expressed his “strongest condemnation” of the violent attack.
“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 hatred and all forms of violence, both physical and moral, which destroys human life, violates the dignity of the people, radically undermines the fundamental good of peaceful coexistence between individuals and peoples, despite differences of nationality, religion and culture,” the statement read.
Calling the terrorist act “abhorrent”, the Holy Father stated that violence is never justifiable and stressed that “any incitement to hatred should be refused.”
Concluding his statement, Fr. Lombardi expressed his closeness to those affected by today’s attack and expressed his support and solidarity for those who work “consistently for peace, justice and the law.”
French Bishops Express “Grief and Horror”
In their statement, the bishops of France expressed their “profound grief and horror” at the attacks.
“The Church in France addresses her thoughts first to the families and relatives of the victims, faced with the horror and incomprehension of [the attack],” the statement read.
“Such terror is obviously unspeakable. Nothing can justify such violence. Moreover, it touches the freedom of expression, an essential element of our society. “
The bishops called for more efforts to “redouble” efforts for peace and brotherhood in a “situation where anger can invade us.”
As news was first released on the attack, Fr. Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the Holy See Press Office, said that the Holy Father will most likely send a message regarding the attack to Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris.
The attack, Fr. Ciro told journalists, is a “double act of violence, appalling because it is both an attack against people as well as an attack against freedom of the press.”
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On ZENIT’s website:
For the Holy See’s statement, go to:
For the full text of the French Bishop’s Conference statement on the attack, go to: