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Pope to relatives of Nice attack victims: Don't answer hatred with hatred

2016-09-26

A thousand people traveled to the Vatican from Nice in the South of France, to meet with the pope.

They are relatives of the 86 people who died on July 14 from a brutal attack in their city. On that day at 11 p.m., a truck came speeding down a pedestrian area, sweeping away entire families.

Pope Francis wanted to meet them and hug them to share in their pain. Among them were also many Muslims, since a third of the victims were of this religion.

POPE FRANCIS
"I pray to the God of mercy for all those who were injured, and in some cases atrociously mutilated, both in body and in spirit, and I do not forget those who are unable to be present and those who are still in the hospital."

An association for inter-religious dialogue was organized, which also brought representatives of the Jewish, Muslim, Protestant and Orthodox communities to Rome. Pope Francis said that in these times, dialogue between people of faith is essential in order to show fraternity.

Above all, he asked families and society in general, not to respond to the attack with hatred.

POPE FRANCIS
"When there is the temptation to be wrapped up in oneself, or to respond to hatred with hatred, and violence with violence, then an authentic conversion of the heart is needed."

His speech was brief and in Italian, because the pope does not speak French. Afterwards, he greeted each of the relatives and friends of the victims one-by-one.

Thus, through gestures, he knew that this woman lost two of her children in the attack.

This woman tearfully handed over the watch from her husband or brother, who can no longer stand beside her.

These parents showed him the cross that their son used to wear.

It was a poignant meeting, which also involved former motorcycle racer Christian Estrosi, the now president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. He took 86 carnations to the meeting, one for each victim of the attack.


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