The Church Prays for Victims of Istanbul Attacks

ataturk airportThe U.S. Bishops are joining Pope Francis in categorically condemning the terrorist attack on passengers in the Ataturk airport in Istanbul, Turkey on Tuesday which left 42 dead and scores wounded.

Vatican Radio is reporting on a statement made by Pope Francis during his June 29 Angelus address in which he called the Istanbul terror attack “brutal”.

“We pray for the victims, for their families, and for the beloved people of Turkey. May the Lord convert the hearts of the violent, and sustain our feet on the way of peace.”

He then invited everyone in St Peter’s Square to take a moment of silent prayer, before leading the crowds in the recitation of the Hail Mary.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic, also issued a statement condemning the attacks and calling for prayer.

“Evil tests our humanity. It tempts us to linger in the terror of Istanbul, Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino, Orlando, and countless other Golgothas ancient and new. Evil lives in the empty hope that terror will blind us to our common humanity. As Christians, we focus not on the violence, but rather the mournful, hopeful image of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Cradling the broken body of Jesus, given up for all of us, Mary found comfort and strength in the love of her Son. Jesus responded to horrific suffering with mercy.

“Each time terror returns us to Golgotha, we should ask: can we respond as Mary did, or will fear numb our compassion? Evil cannot be born from God. Let us take this moment to reach out to our brothers and sisters in solidarity. The true representation of faith is found in the heroic acts of Istanbul’s airport security and emergency response.

“As violence picks up its deadly pace, we can draw strength from God’s endless mercy. No matter how often we must return to Golgotha, Mary will always be there to sustain us. Let us, once again, turn our unwavering prayer and generosity toward the suffering.”

Meanwhile, flags across Turkey are flying at half-staff today as the nation observes a day of mourning.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed that the attack “will not divide or split our country” and said the terrorists were not true Muslim.

“This is not Islamic. Taking one person’s life means going straight to hell,” he said Wednesday from the Turkish capital of Ankara.

As CNN reports, his televised comments came a day after he issued a written statement saying that an attack during the final days of the holy month of Ramadan shows that the attackers had “no regard for faith or values.”

Thus far, no terror group has taken responsibility for the attack.

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