‘I renew again my appeal to all the people of good will to unite in unanimous condemnation of the cruel abominations that are causing only death, terror, and horror.’
Pope Francis launched this plea against terrorism during his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square this morning, just a day after the ISIS attacks in Brussels which claimed more than 34 lives and caused more than 135 injuries.
Yesterday, Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on the Pope’s behalf, sent a telegram to the Archbishop of Brussels, giving his condolences to victims’ loved ones and condemning the acts. Also, the Belgian bishops issued a statement calling for prayerful solidarity and national unity in response to the assault.
Following his remarks to Italian pilgrims, the Pope said, “With a grieving heart, I followed the sad news of the terrorist attacks that happened yesterday in Brussels, that caused numerous victims and injured. I assure the dear Belgian people, and to all the families of the victims and of the wounded, my prayers and closeness.”
Renewing his appeal to unite against those who perpetrate these acts, the Pontiff called on all people to persevere in prayer and to ask the Lord, in this Holy Week, “to comfort the afflicted hearts and convert the hearts of people blinded by cruel fundamentalism.”
The Holy Father then called for Mary’s intercession and invited those gathered to join him in saying a Hail Mary.
Pope Francis concluded, saying, “Now in silence, we pray for the dead, the wounded, the families, and all the Belgian people.”