Pope Francis has condemned the deadly New Year’s Eve terror attack on a nightclub in Istanbul, in which a gunman opened fire on New Year’s revelers in Istanbul’s popular Reina venue, killing at least 39 people and wounding scores of others. At least 69 people were taken to hospital with injuries.
Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for the New Year’s Day Angelus, Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims and their families, as well as the whole Turkish people.
Departing from his prepared text, Pope Francis said, “Deeply saddened, I express my closeness to the Turkish people, I pray for the many victims and the injured and for the whole nation in mourning, and I ask the Lord to support all people of good will who courageously roll up their sleeves to face the plague of terrorism and the bloody stain that envelops the world with a shadow of fear and bewilderment.”
The Holy Father’s words came following the traditional prayer of Marian devotion on New Year’s Day, which is also the day on which the Church marks the Solemnity of the Most Holy Mother of God and the World Day of Peace.
This 50th iteration of the World Day of Peace is centered on the theme: Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace.