Pope Francis on Saturday welcomed to the Vatican some of the relatives of the July 14 terrorist attack in Nice, France, assuring them of the closeness of the Church and the Successor of Peter.
Nearly 90 people were killed and more than 430 injured that night, when a terrorist drove a cargo truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day.
“I want to share your pain, a pain that becomes even greater when I think of the children, even of entire families, whose life was taken away from them suddenly in a dramatic way,” the Pope said. “I assure each of you of my compassion, my closeness and my prayer.”
The Holy Father noted the hope of the Resurrection, praying that “our heavenly Father, Father of all,” may “take to Himself your dear deceased, so that they soon find the rest and joy of eternal life.”
He also urged the mourning to confront hatred with love.
“When the temptation is great to withdraw into oneself or to respond to hatred with hatred, to violence with violence, a genuine conversion of heart is necessary,” he said. “This is the message that Jesus’ Gospel addresses to all of us. One can respond to the assaults of the devil only with the works of God, which are forgiveness, love and respect of one’s neighbor, even if he is different than you.”
The Pope reiterated the closeness of the Church, saying that She is near “with immense compassion.”
“With her presence at your side in these very heavy moments to be faced, she asks the Lord to come to your help and to put in your hearts sentiments of peace and fraternity,” he said.
“Dear brothers and sisters,” the Pope said, “once again I assure you of my prayer and of all the tenderness of the Successor of Peter.”
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