VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Saturday called the Paris terror attacks “a piece” of a “piecemeal Third World War,” and said he is praying for the families of the victims, and the entire French people.
In a telephone interview at noon Rome-time with the Italian Bishops Conference official television network TV2000, the pope said he is “moved and saddened” by the carnage of Friday’s attacks in Paris.
“I am moved and saddened. And I don’t understand, but these things are difficult to understand; they are carried out by human beings,” he said. “I am moved, saddened, and I am praying. I am very close to the beloved French people, I am close to the families of the victims, and I am praying for all of them.”
Asked about his own repeated references to a “piecemeal Third World War,” Pope Francis responded: “This is a piece.” And he added: “There are no justifications for these things, religious or human. This isn’t human.”
The pope concluded by saying: “I am close to all those who are suffering and to all of France, which I love very much.”
On Saturday Pope Francis also sent a telegram to the Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, following last evening’s terrorist attacks in the French capital. The message, sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin on behalf of the Holy Father, reads:
“Having learned of the horrific terrorist attacks which occurred in Paris and the Stade de France, killing scores of people and wounding many others, His Holiness Pope Francis is united in prayer with the suffering of the families affected by the tragedy, and with the pain of the French people. He asks God, the Father of Mercy, to welcome the victims into the peace of his light and to bring comfort and hope to the wounded and their families. He assures you, and all those who participated in the rescue effort, of his spiritual closeness. Once again, the Holy Father strongly condemns the violence, which cannot solve anything, and he asks God to inspire all people with thoughts of peace and solidarity and to impart to the families in this trial, and on all the French, the abundance of his blessings.”
Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State of the Holy See
French President Francois Hollande has said ISIS is behind Friday’s attacks, which occurred at six sites around Paris and left an estimated 160 persons dead and well more than 100 persons injured. The massacre marks the French capital’s deadliest day since World War II.
An Italian religious TV station, TV2000, has posted this audio clip of Pope Francis – sounding distressed and tearful – expressing his horror at the murders in Paris. The Pope says he’s moved and saddened, and praying for every one of the victims and their families; he feels close to ‘the beloved’ French people. The Spectator has had it translated from the Italian:-
Q: Holy Father, how do you feel about the tragedy of Paris?
A: I feel deeply touched and grieved. I don’t understand. But these things are hard to understand; things done by human beings. That’s why I am deeply touched, grieved and I pray. I am very close to the beloved French people, I am close to the relatives of the victims and I pray for all of them.
Q: You spoke many times about a Third World War… in pieces.
A: Yes, this is a piece of it. There is no justification for such things…
Q: Above all, there can’t be a religious justification.
A: Neither religious, nor human. This is not human. That’s why I am close to all the people who suffer and to France, which I love so much. And thanks a lot for your call.