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Attacks on places of worship are “shameful crimes,” says Pope Francis

© Antoine Mekary / Aleteia
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At General Audience, refers to last weekend's attack on Mass-goers in Nigeria and violence in Central African Republic.

Pope Francis on Wednesday lamented “every form of hatred and violence” and especially that “perpetrated in places of worship, where the faithful gather to pray.”

The pope was speaking at today’s general audience in reference to the slaying of 13 people who were attending Mass last Sunday at St. Philip’s Catholic Church in Ozubulu, Nigeria, near the city of Onitsha.

Francis also spoke out against news coming in today of “violent homicides in the Central African Republic against the Christian community.”

“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,” the Holy Father said.

The pope invited those at the general audience to pray for “our brothers and sisters in Nigeria and in the Central African Republic,” and then led a Hail Mary.

On Monday, Pope Francis sent a telegram of condolences to Bishop Hilary Paul Odili Okeke of Nnewi, the diocese where the attack took place.

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