Paris terrorism: Jesuit reaction worldwide

Terrorist attacks in Paris prompt prayers for peace and reconciliation
Terrorist attacks in Paris prompt prayers for peace and reconciliation

Jesuits and their associates throughout the world have condemned Friday’s acts of terrorism and have expressed their solidarity for the people of Paris.

In Rome, Pope Francis sent a telegram to Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, the Archbishop of Paris, in which he stated he was joined in prayer with the suffering of families affected by the drama and the pain of the French people. His message said he was asking God “to inspire thoughts of peace and solidarity in all”. Yesterday, at his weekly Angelus address to pilgrims in St Peter’s Square, the Pope said Friday’s events had shocked not only France, but the whole world. “The way of violence and hatred does not resolve the problems of humanity,” he told pilgrims, adding that the use of God’s name to justify violence is blasphemy.

Building bridges of love and reconciliation

The Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi SJ, warned against fear in the aftermath of the terrorism in Paris, saying that the Year of Mercy – due to start on 8 December – was even more necessary. “We must go on living by building peace and mutual trust,” he told Vatican Radio. “So I would say that the Jubilee of Mercy shows itself even more necessary. A message of mercy, that love of God which leads to mutual love and reconciliation. This is precisely the answer we must give in times of temptation and mistrust.” The message contained in the Year of Mercy should make us capable of building bridges, said Fr Lombardi, “and – in spite of everything – to have the courage of love”.

Throughout Britain, prayers for the Paris victims were included at Sunday Masses in all Jesuit parishes; while students and staff of Stonyhurst College in Lancashire concluded a Mission with Mass on Saturday celebrated by Fr Philip Endean SJ who is currently living and teaching in Paris. Speaking movingly and poignantly, he led prayers for the victims of the atrocities in the French capital, saying that he hoped new initiatives for peace and reconciliation would stem the flow of hatred and division.