VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Expressing his condolences to victims and their families, Pope Francis called for an end to terrorism following a string of deadly attacks in Berlin and Ankara.
Similar to an attack with a truck that took place in July in Nice, France, a tractor-trailer veered into the crowded Breitscheidplatz Christmas market in Berlin and plowed through bystanders, killing 12 people and wounding nearly 50.
In a telegram sent by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, to Archbishop Heiner Koch of Berlin, the pope prayed for the families of the dead and the wounded, “assuring his closeness in their pain.”
“Pope Francis joins all people of good will who are working so that the homicidal madness of terrorism does not find any more room in our world,” Cardinal Parolin wrote.
Cardinal Parolin said the pope received news of the attack with “profound emotion” and joined the families of the victims in their mourning and “entrusts the dead to the mercy of God.”
Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany, president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, said news of the attack in Berlin had “deeply shocked me” and called on the people of Germany to “hold together and stand united as a society.”
“The violence on the Christmas market is the opposite of what visitors were seeking. My compassion goes to the relatives of the dead and injured. For all of them, I will pray,” he said.