by Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis condemned the attack on Bastille Day Celebrations in France, calling it an act of “blind violence.”
The pope expressed his “deep sorrow” and “spiritual closeness” with the French people in a message to Bishop Andre Marceau of Nice, signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state. Pope Francis entrusted the victims and their families to God’s mercy.
“The pope expresses his sympathy to those injured and to all those who have contributed to rescue efforts, asking the Lord to sustain each one in this trial,” the cardinal wrote. He said Pope Francis imparted his blessing on grieving families while invoking “God’s gift of peace and harmony” upon the people of France.
France declared three days of mourning and extended its state of emergency after the July 14 attack along Nice’s seaside promenade; more than 80 people were killed and the death toll was mounting. The three days of mourning were to begin July 16.
In Paris, Notre Dame Cathedral scheduled a Mass July 17 to commemorate the victims.