Heal the 'wounds of war and terrorism', Pope Francis prays for victims of London Bridge terror attack
Pope evokes the help of the Holy Spirit after seven killed and dozens badly injured during Saturday night's terror attack
Pope Francis has prayed for victims of Saturday night’s terror attacks asking that the “wounds of war and terrorism” be healed.
During Sunday’s noontime Regina Coeli prayer in front of thousands in St Peter’s Square, the Pope appealed for peace across the whole world, and called on the Holy Spirit to end terror attacks, three of which have struck the UK within the last three months.
“May He heal the wounds of war and of terrorism, which even this [Saturday] night, in London, struck innocent civilians: let us pray for the victims and their families.” Francis said on Pentecost Sunday, the day when the Church celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Seven people were killed and at least 48 others injured after a van drove into pedestrians on London Bridge just after 10pm before the occupants of the vehicle jumped out and launched a frenzied knife attack on innocent civilians on the bridge and along Borough Road to Borough Market - a popular night-time destination for Londoners and tourists.
According to witnesses the assailants shouted “this is for Allah” as they repeatedly stabbed victims: four French citizens and an Australian and a New Zealander have been confirmed as among the injured.
Yesterday, Mark Rowley, the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner said that 36 people were in hospital with a "range of injuries" while 21 were in a critical condition after the attack which lasted for approximately eight minutes before police shot dead the three assailants in Borough Market.
The terrorist incident on London Bridge comes after the Manchester suicide bombing on 22 May which killed 23, and a similar incident on Westminster Bridge in which four people were killed, including a police officer guarding the entrance to the Houses of Parliament. There, a lone man drove at people on the bridge before attacking people in Westminster before he was shot dead by armed police marksmen by the entrance to the Palace of Westminster.
The Pope has repeatedly talked of a “piecemeal” World War III taking place and while in Egypt issued a strong denunciation of violence “carried out in the name of God”.
“We have an obligation to denounce violations of human dignity and human rights, to expose attempts to justify every form of hatred in the name of religion, and to condemn these attempts as idolatrous caricatures of God,” Francis stressed during his trip to the Muslim-majority country. “Peace alone, therefore, is holy and no act of violence can be perpetrated in the name of God, for it would profane his name.”
But he has also been keen to de-link Islam from terrorist atrocities carried out by extremists, and has stressed Islam is a religion of peace. Two weeks after the Westminster attack, the Pope met with four British Imams inside the Vatican where he urged for a dialogue where followers of different faiths respectfully listen to one another.
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