In the wake of the attack in Nice, France, the Catholic Community of Sant’Egidio has called on the world to avoid an “instrumentalization of religions” at the service of an economic and political “clash of civilizations”.

“Senseless and barbaric terrorism” arouses “great outrage”

Full text of the Sant’Egidio press release on the Nice attack

(Source: Community of Sant’Egidio)

The severe attack in the cathedral of Nice caused the death of three people and the wounding of others. Apart from pity for the victims and closeness to their families this attack arouses great outrage and demands a firm condemnation from all.

The Community of Sant’Egidio is united with the French people and the diocese of Nice, the target of this last act of senseless and barbaric terrorism.

At the same time, Sant’Egidio invites believers of every faith, especially Christians and Muslims, to dissociate religion from all forms of violence perpetrated in the name of God.

As a network of men and women connected with the “spirit of Assisi” we signed a solemn Appeal for Peace on October 20 in Rome, in the presence of Pope Francis and authoritative Christian, Muslim and other religious leaders, which we are committed to implement on every occasion.

It is absolutely necessary to avoid a new, dangerous instrumentalization of religions and to stop the attempt to create a new “clash of civilizations” dictated by economic, political or ideological reasons.

These are far from genuine expressions of faith, but aim to undermine the peaceful coexistence and integration that over the years has been achieved, not without difficulties, in Europe.

In this sense, places of worship such as churches, mosques and synagogues are the first places to be preserved and kept from violence, even symbolically, because they are places of prayer where hatred is banned and where God is the name of Peace.

Pope condemns “violent act of terror” in “strongest possible way”

In the meantime, on Thursday Pope Francis expressed his sorrow and offered prayers for the Church in France following the tragic murders in the Nice basilica.

A message addressed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to Bishop André Marceau of Nice conveyed the Pope’s closeness.

“Informed of the savage attack that was perpetrated this morning in a church in Nice, causing the death of several innocent people, His Holiness Pope Francis joins in prayer with the suffering of the families who were affected and shares their sorrow. He asks the Lord to bring them comfort and he commends the victims to his mercy”, Cardinal Parolin wrote.

“Condemning such violent acts of terror in the strongest possible way, he assures the Catholic Community of France and all the French people of his closeness and he calls for unity. Confiding France to the protection of Our Lady, he wholeheartedly gives the Apostolic Blessing to all those affected by this tragedy”.

(With reporting by Vatican News)

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