Here is a translation of the message from the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, Andre Vingt-Trois, read during this past Sunday’s Masses in all the parishes of Paris regarding the terrorist attack in the city last week.
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To Catholics of Paris
Paris, January 10, 2015
Our country, our city of Paris in particular, was the scene of unprecedented acts of violence and barbarism. For many years, war and death were always somewhere else, even if in that period French soldiers were committed in several countries seeking to bring some peace. Some of them paid for it with their life.
However, violent death invited itself suddenly in our midst. In France, and well beyond our borders, everyone is in a state of shock. The greater part of our fellow citizens lived this situation as an appeal to rediscover a certain number of fundamental values of our Republic, such as freedom of religion and freedom of opinion. The spontaneous gatherings of these last days were marked by great recollection, without manifestations of hatred or violence. The sadness of mourning and the conviction that together we have something to defend united the French.
A caricature, even if in bad taste, a criticism even if gravely unjust, cannot be placed on the same plane as a murder. Regardless of the cost, freedom of the press is the sign of a mature society. That men born in our country, our fellow citizens, can think that the only just response to mockery or insult is the death of its authors puts our society before grave questions. That French Jews pay once again a tribute for troubles that agitate our national community redoubles again their gravity. We render homage also to the policemen who died while exercising their function to the end.
I invite the Catholics of Paris to pray to the Lord for the victims of the terrorists, for their spouses, for their children and their families. Let us pray also for our country: may the moderation, temperance and self-mastery of those who have given proof of this up to the present be confirmed in the coming weeks and months; may no one yield to panic and hatred; may no one give in to the simplification of identifying some fanatics with the entire religion. And let us pray also for the terrorists, that they may discover the truth of God’s judgment.
We ask for the grace to be architects of peace. If justice is built, there is no need to despair of peace.
+Cardinal Andre VINGT-TROIS,
Archbishop of Paris[Translation by ZENIT]