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Pope Francis signing the Visitors Record Book of the Sanctuary of the Virgen del Quinche

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Pope Decries French Terrorist Attacks: ‘I Condemn Such Acts of Blind Violence’

Recalls ‘Generous & Heroic Gesture’ of Colonel Arnaud Beltrame Who Gave Up Life When Swapping Himself With Hostage

“I condemn again such acts of blind violence, which cause so much suffering and, praying fervently to God for the gift of peace.”

Pope Francis expressed this in his telegram of condolences to the loved ones of the victims of Friday’s terrorist attacks in France’s Carcassonne and Trebes. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin sent a telegram on behalf of the Holy Father to Bishop Alain Planet of Carcassonne and Narbonne, in Southern France.
Four people were killed and 15 injured by 25 year old Redouane Lakdim, of Moroccan descent, who had pledged allegiance to Isis. 
After hijacking a car, during which he killed one and wounded another, in the city of Carcassonne, Lakdim fled toward Thebes. Being pursued, he hid in a supermarket where he took hostages.  

A heroic French police officer, Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, swapped himself for a female hostage and was shot dead by the terrorist. He was married in the hospital just hours before he died.

To the bishop in the telegram, the Holy Father underscored: “I greet particularly the generous and heroic gesture of Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, who gave his life in attempting to protect people.”

The Pope also said he participates in prayer in the suffering of the families of the victims of the attacks in Carcassonne and Trebes, and with the wounded and their relatives. He repeated his condemnation of “blind violence” invoked the Lord’s gift of peace, and blessed the afflicted families and all the French people.

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The Holy Father’s Telegram

Having learnt of the tragic attacks that took place in Carcassonne and Trebes, which left several victims, I express to you my sadness and entrust to God’s mercy the people who lost their life, associating myself in prayer to the grief of their dear ones. I greet particularly the generous and heroic gesture of Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, who gave his life in attempting to protect people. I express my sympathy to the wounded and their families, as well as to all the persons touched by the tragedy, asking the Lord to grant them comfort and consolation. I condemn again such acts of blind violence, which cause so much suffering and, praying fervently to God for the gift of peace, I invoke upon the tested families and upon all the French the benefit of Divine Blessings.

Francis PP.

[Original text: French]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages). She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, EWTN and Salt & Light. For 'The Other Francis': https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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