The Holy Father as well as the Pakistan Catholic Bishops Conference (PCBC) denounced the suicide bombing on Sunday of All Saint’s Church in Peshawar which claimed the lives of 80 people and wounding over 150 during Mass.
Pope Francis commented on the attack during his one-day visit to Cagliari, located on the Italian island of Sardinia.
“Today in Pakistan, for a wrong choice, of hatred, of war, an attack was carried out and 70 people died. This road does not lead you anywhere. Only the path of peace, which builds a better world,” the Pope said.
Shortly after, the Holy Father led the faithful in prayer for the victims of the attack. “Let us pray the Our Father for all these people who have died in this attack in Pakistan. May Our Lady help us always to work for a better world, to take the path of building, the path of peace and never the path of destruction and war.”
Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi, president of the PCBC also condemned the attack in a statement sent to Fides News Agency.
“The attacking of innocent men, women and children while praying in the church is a shameful act of cowardice,” the Archbishop said.
In an expression of solidarity with the victims, Archbishop Coutts announced that all Christian educational institutions in Pakistan will be closed for three days as an act of mourning and protest for the suicide bombing.
While urging Christians to avoid any act of violence or retaliation, the Archbishop of Karachi called on government leaders to take immediate action against those responsible for the bombing. Several news agencies reported that a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.