At today’s general audience in the Vatican, Pope Francis appealed for an end to “every form of hatred and violence”, especially those “perpetrated in places of worship, where the faithful gather to pray”.
Pope Francis was referring to an attack on Catholics attending Mass last Sunday in southern Nigeria as well as to recent violence against Christians in the Central African Republic. At least 13 people were killed in Sunday’s atrocity and 26 others were wounded when gunmen opened fire on worshipers at Saint Philip’s Catholic Church in Ozubulu near the city of Onitsha.
On Monday Pope Francis sent a message of condolences to Bishop Hilary Paul Odili Okeke, Bishop of Nnewi in Nigeria, following the attack on the church in his diocese.
At his general audience , Pope Francis said he “remains deeply saddened by the massacre, which took place last Sunday in Nigeria inside a church, where innocent people were killed.” The Pope also decried an incident which occurred on Wednesday in the Central African Republic.
Pope Francis continued, “And, unfortunately, news has arrived this morning of violent homicides in the Central African Republic against the Christian community.” He expressed his desire that attacks on places of worship should cease.
“I hope that all forms of hatred and violence cease, and may such shameful crimes not be repeated, especially those perpetrated in places of worship, where the faithful gather to pray,” he said.
After a brief pause, the Holy Father invited all present to think about “our brothers and sisters in Nigeria and in the Central African Republic” and to pray for them. Pope Francis then led the crowd in prayer with the recitation of the Hail Mary.
Source: Vatican Radio