||A child lights a candle in Republique square in Paris November 14 in memory of victims of terrorist attacks. Coordinated attacks the previous evening claimed the lives of 129 people. The Islamic State claimed responsibility. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Using God’s name to try to justify violence and murder is “blasphemy,” Pope Francis said November 15, speaking about the terrorist attacks on Paris.
“Such barbarity leaves us dismayed, and we ask ourselves how the human heart can plan and carry out such horrible events,” the pope said after reciting the “Angelus” prayer with visitors in St. Peter’s Square.
Attacks by terrorists
The attacks in Paris November 13 -- attacks the French government said were carried out by three teams of Islamic State terrorists -- caused the deaths of at least 129 people and left more than 350 injured, many of them critically. A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a soccer stadium, gunmen attacked customers at cafes and restaurants, and a team of terrorists gunned down dozens of people at a concert.
The attacks, Pope Francis said, were an “unspeakable affront to the dignity of the human person.”
“The path of violence and hatred cannot resolve the problems of humanity, and using the name of God to justify this path is blasphemy,” he said.
Pope Francis asked the thousands of people who gathered at St. Peter’s for the Sunday midday prayer to observe a moment of silence and to join him in reciting a “Hail Mary.”
“May the Virgin Mary, mother of mercy, give rise in the hearts of everyone thoughts of wisdom and proposals for peace,” he said. “We ask her to protect and watch over the dear French nation, the first daughter of the Church, over Europe and the whole world.”
“Let us entrust to the mercy of God the innocent victims of this tragedy,” the pope said.
Pope ‘shaken and pained’
Speaking November 14, the day after the terrorist attacks, Pope Francis had told the television station of the Italian bishops’ conference, “I am shaken and pained.”