Pope Francis launched the Twitter hashtag #PrayersForParis, to honour the victims of Wednesday’s terror attack in Paris against the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 people were killed.
The message did not add any other text. The aim was merely to boost the hashtag, which had acquired more than 1,000 retweets a short time after being posted.
Speaking at the morning Mass he celebrated in his Santa Marta residence, the pontiff denounced the “human cruelty” of the attack on the French magazine, asking for prayers for the victims.
According to Vatican Radio, the Pope expressed his “strongest condemnation for the horrific attack that sowed death, upset the whole of French society, (and) deeply disturbed all peace-loving people far beyond the borders of France”.
He said that “the attack in Paris makes us think about human cruelty; of so much terrorism, whether it be isolated terrorism or state terrorism. The cruelty that man is capable of”.
In a statement, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the Pope “calls upon all to oppose by all means the spread of hatred and all forms of violence, physical and moral, which destroy human life, violate the dignity of people, radically undermine the fundamental good of peaceful coexistence between individuals and peoples regardless of differences in nationality, religion and culture”.
The statement added that the Pope expressed “his closeness, his spiritual solidarity and support for all those who, according to their different responsibilities, continue to work consistently for peace, justice and fairness, who continue to heal the deep sources and causes of hatred, at this painful and dramatic moment in France and in every part of the world marred by tensions and violence”.