Pope assures solidarity with New Zealanders, especially Muslim community

Diederik van Heyningen / Anadolu Agency

Bishops: “… we are particularly horrified that this has happened at a place and time of prayer.”

Through his secretary of state, Pope Francis today sent his condolences to all those affected by New Zealand’s first massive act of terrorism.

In a message, the Holy Father lamented the “senseless acts of violence” that resulted in the death of some 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch.

He assured his solidarity with everyone of the nation, especially the Muslim community.

Here is the message:

His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the injury and loss of life caused by the senseless acts of violence at two Mosques in Christchurch, and he assures all New Zealanders, and in particular the Muslim community, of his heartfelt solidarity in the wake of these attacks.  Mindful of the efforts of the security and emergency personnel in this difficult situation, His Holiness prays for the healing of the injured, the consolation of those who grieve the loss of their loved ones, and for all affected by this tragedy.  Commending those who have died to the loving mercy of Almighty God, Pope Francis invokes the divine blessings of comfort and strength upon the nation.

Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State

The bishops of the nation also sent a message to the Muslim community of New Zealand:

We hold you in prayer as we hear the terrible news of violence against Muslims in mosques in Christchurch. We are profoundly aware of the positive relationships we have with Islamic people in this land, and we are particularly horrified that this has happened at a place and time of prayer. We are deeply saddened that people have been killed and injured, and our hearts go out to them, their families and wider community. We wish you to be aware of our solidarity with you in the face of such violence.

The message concludes, “Peace, Salaam,” and is signed by all five Catholic bishops of New Zealand.