Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin sent this telegram on behalf of the Holy Father to Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, following the terrorist attacks in the French capital which took place during the night of 13 November.
“Having learned of the horrible terrorist attacks in Paris and at the Stade de France, causing the death of many people and injuring many others, the Holy Father Francis joins in prayer with the suffering of the families affected by this tragedy and the mourning of the French people. He asks that God, the merciful Father, welcome the victims in the peace of His light and offer consolation and hope to the injured and their families. He assures them, and all the members of the emergency services, of his spiritual proximity. Once again the Holy Father vigorously condemns violence, which resolves nothing, and asks God to inspire in all thoughts of peace and solidarity, and to extend to all families at this difficult time, and all the French people, the abundance of His blessings.”
The Catholic television channel Sat 2000, during a special programme on the Paris attacks, made a telephone call to Pope Francis who, when asked about his reaction to the massacre, said: “I am moved, saddened and do not understand, but these things are difficult to comprehend … and so I pray. I am very close to the beloved French people, I am close to the families of the victims, and I pray for all of them.”
In response to the journalist who remarked that the Holy Father has often stated we are experiencing a “piecemeal third world war,” he affirmed, “Yes, and this is one of the pieces. But there are no justifications for these things, … neither religious nor human. This is not human. Therefore, I am close to all those who suffer and to all France, whom I love greatly. Thank you for calling.”
Message of Cardinal Vingt-Trois following the terrorist attacks in Paris:
Our city of Paris, our country, was hit last night with particular savagery and intensity.
After the attacks of last January, after the attack in Beirut this week and many others in these past months, including in Nigeria and other African countries, our country knows anew the pain of grief and must face the barbarism spread by fanatical groups.
This morning I pray, and invite Catholics of Paris to pray, for those who were killed yesterday and for their families, for the injured and their loved ones and for those who are hard at work assisting them, for the police forces who face formidable challenges, and for our leaders and country, so that together we will remain in unity and peace of heart.
I ask the parishes of Paris to comply strictly with the measures issued by public authorities. I ask them to make today and tomorrow days of mourning and prayer.
Sunday evening at 18.30 I will preside at Mass at Notre-Dame de Paris for the victims and their families and for our country; the bell of the cathedral will toll at 18.15. Catholic Television (KTO) will broadcast this Mass, allowing all who wish to join us.
Faced with the violence of men, may we receive the grace of a firm heart, without hatred. May the moderation, temperance and control that has been shown so far, be confirmed in the weeks and months to come; let no one indulge in panic or hatred. We ask that grace be the artisan of peace. We need never despair of peace if we build on justice.
+ Cardinal Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris</p>