Here in the Vatican we are following the terrible news from Paris. We are shocked by this new manifestation of maddening, terrorist violence and hatred which we condemn in the most radical way together with the Pope and all those who love peace. We pray for the victims and the wounded, and for all the French people. This is an attack on peace for all humanity, and it requires a decisive, supportive response on the part of all of us as we counter the spread the homicidal hatred in all of its forms.
During his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta the Pope asked for prayer “for the victims of this cruelty,” and “for those who are cruel so that the Lord may change their heart.”
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, released a message in French this morning calling for peace and solidarity.
The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, has also issued three statements. First, a message to the public condemning the attacks and offering prayer:
This random killing of innocent people is utterly despicable and a course of action which must be rejected unequivocally by all … Today I offer my prayers, with those of the entire Catholic Community in England and Wales, for those who have been shot dead as they enjoyed moments of relaxation and entertainment. I pray for the bereaved, for those who have been traumatised. I pray for the City of Paris that it will courageously recover its poise as one of the great cities of the world. I pray for the police and security forces who will continue their frontline fight against this evil madness. I pray, too, for the Muslim communities in France, and here in England, that they may not be victimised because of the actions of these violent and ruthless extremists but strive always for the way of peace and cooperation with the wider society.
The Cardinal also sent a message of condolence to the Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois:
On this sad morning I send to you my heartfelt condolences for all who died last night at the hands of terrorists in your city of Paris. I assure you of my prayers at the moment of profound disturbance, fear and disbelief … I know that you will lead the Catholic community with wisdom and love and give that example to all who attend to your voice.
And a message to London’s French Catholic community based at Notre Dame de France, the French church in Leicester Square:
I want to assure you of my thoughts and prayers this morning. I pray for all who have died, for those who have been bereaved and traumatised, for the city of Paris as it wakes to a changed world with new challenges for all who believe in peaceful cooperation and constructive engagement in all spheres of life
You can read the full text of Cardinal Nichols’s messages here.