VATICAN CITY, MARCH 14, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II delivered today before praying the midday Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square. The address was in Italian.
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1. The Gospel page that the liturgy proposes to us this Sunday makes reference to accounts in Jesus’ time of two tragic events: the bloody repression of a revolt and the collapse of the tower of Siloam on a crowd (see Luke 13:1-9). It makes us think of events in our days, marked unfortunately by repeated news of violence and death.
Last Sunday I already referred to the powder kegs of war and terrorist attacks that bloody several parts of the world. Last Thursday, tragic attacks took place in Madrid, which claimed 200 victims and more than 1,000 wounded. The horrendous crime has shaken public opinion worldwide. In the face of so much barbarity, one is profoundly disturbed and can only ask how it is possible for the human spirit to conceive such execrable felonies.
2. While confirming the absolute condemnation of such unjustifiable acts, I express once again my participation in the sorrow of the victims’ relatives and my closeness in prayer to the wounded and their loved ones.
The common testimony of solidarity which arose in all parts of Spain last Friday, with the participation of the political authorities of the whole of Europe, had a moving echo throughout the world.
Based on the harmonious contribution of all the healthy forces of the continent, it is possible to look ahead with confidence and to hope for a better future. In particular, those who believe in God, Creator and Father, must feel committed to work for the building of a more fraternal and solidaristic world, despite the difficulties and obstacles that might be encountered on this necessary and urgent path.
3. In the maternal hands of Mary, Virgin of Mercy, we place in a particular way the victims of the terrible terrorist attack of Madrid. We ask her to protect and watch over the beloved Spanish nation, Europe and the whole world.
[Translation by ZENIT]