Vatican City, Jul 24, 2016 / 06:23 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Sunday, Pope Francis responded to recent acts of violence in Germany and Afghanistan, expressing his closeness to the families of the victims, and stressing the importance of prayer in the face of threats against “safety and peace.”
“At this time, our spirit is once more shaken by the sad news relating to the deplorable acts of terrorism and violence which have caused suffering and death,” the Pope said in an appeal after the weekly Angelus at the Vatican. In his July 24 address, the Pontiff spoke in reference to “the dramatic events in Munich, Germany, and Kabul, Afghanistan, where the lives of numerous innocent people have been lost.”
“I am near to the families of the victims and the wounded,” he said. “I invite you to join in my prayer, in order that the Lord may inspire all good and fraternal resolutions.”
In the face of seemingly “insurmountable” difficulties, and dark “prospects of safety and peace,” the Pope said, our prayer should be “all the more persistent.” At least 80 people were killed and 230 people wounded after two explosions struck the Afghan city of Kabul on Saturday, Reuters reports. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack, which hit the capital city's Shi'ite Hazara minority.
The July 23 attack on Kabul is the latest in a string of attacks worldwide attributed to ISIS. Among the most recent attacks include an axe attack on a train in Würzburg, Germany last Monday, in which several passengers were critically wounded. The previous week, 84 people were killed in Nice, France when a Tunisian man intentionally drove a large truck through a crowded beach street at high speed during a Bastille Day celebration.
Pope Francis further responded the attack in Munich, expressing his condolences to the local archbishop in a telegram early Sunday morning. At least nine people were killed and more than 30 injured on Friday evening after an 18-year-old gunman — who reports have named Ali David Sonboly -- opened fire at the Olympia shopping mall in Munich. Police believe the teenager had no known ties to the Islamic State, but he was reportedly inspired by Anders Behring Breivik, the mass murderer who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, according to the BBC.
The Pope learned “with dismay” of the attack in Munich, which included the killing of young people, according to the telegram addressed to the archbishop of Munich and Freising, Cardinal Reinhard Marx and signed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
“His Holiness shares in the suffering of the survivors, and he expresses his closeness to them,” and he “prayerfully entrusts the departed to God's mercy,” the telegram reads. In the message, the pontiff expressed his sympathy to all those affected by the incident, and his gratitude towards rescue workers for their “generous and caring commitment.”
“Pope Francis prays that Christ, the Lord of life, may give everyone comfort and consolation,” the telegram reads, “and he imparts to the his Apostolic blessing as a pledge of hope.”