As news of the terrorist attack came in on Friday night, Vatican spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi issued an initial statement:
“Here in the Vatican we are following the terrible news from Paris. We are shocked by this new manifestation of maddening, terrorist violence and hatred which we condemn in the most radical way together with the Pope and all those who love peace. We pray for the victims and the wounded, and for all the French people. This is an attack on peace for all humanity, and it requires a decisive, supportive response on the part of all of us as we counter the spread the homicidal hatred in all of its forms.”
On Saturday, he released this statement:
In these sad days, in which murderous violence has reared its insane, horrible head, many wonder how to respond. Some people are already asking how to live the experience of these last days of waiting before the opening of the Jubilee [of Mercy]. Be on guard: these murderers, possessed by a senseless hatred, are called ‘terrorists’ precisely because they want to spread terror. If we let ourselves be frightened, they will have already reached their first objective. This, then, is one more reason to resist with determination and courage the temptation to fear.
It goes without saying that we must be cautious, and not irresponsible: we must take precautions that are reasonable. Nevertheless, we must go on living by building peace and mutual trust. So I would say that the Jubilee of Mercy shows itself even more necessary. A message of mercy, that love of God which leads to mutual love and reconciliation. This is precisely the answer we must give in times of temptation to mistrust.
St. John Paul II said that the message of mercy was the great response of God and of believers in the dark and horrible time of the Second World War, which saw massacres carried out by totalitarian regimes, and the spread of hatred among peoples and persons.
Today, too, when Pope Francis speaks of a third world war being fought piecemeal, there is need for a message of mercy to make us capable of building bridges, and, in spite of everything, to have the courage of love.
This is, therefore, no time to give up the Jubilee, or to be afraid. We need the Jubilee more than ever. We have to live with prudent intelligence, but also with courage and spiritual élan, continuing to look to the future with hope, despite the attacks of hatred. Pope Francis guides us and invites us to trust in the Spirit of the Lord who accompanies us.[Translation by Vatican Radio]