German Catholics search for consolation in prayer after Berlin attack

A man attaches a poster "The light is stronger than the darkness" in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, the day after a truck ran into a crowded Christmas market and killed several people. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)A man attaches a poster "The light is stronger than the darkness" in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, the day after a truck ran into a crowded Christmas market and killed several people. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

In the wake of the terrorist attack on the Berlin Christmas market, Catholics across Germany were uniting to support the Christian community.

The attack has provoked strong emotions among many people, especially given that Christmas is traditionally one of Germany's most beloved and important holidays.

Advertisement

Bishop Gebhard Furst of Rottenburg-Stuttgart held a prayer service on Dec. 20, during which he called the attack a "deed of horror."

"The past night has struck us and shaken us deeply," Bishop Furst told attendees at Rottenburg's Cathedral of St. Martin.

He called for Christians to interrupt their daily routines with prayer services "in order to hold onto, and pray for, and think of what has happened, especially of the victims, the injured, the severely wounded, of those people who were struck and affected by this misfortune, this deed of horror."

The bishop also called for prayers for the victims' relatives and members of the security services. He ended the address by lighting a single candle on the stone altar to symbolize Germany's "hope and courage toward the future."

On Dec. 19, the day of the attack, the German bishops' conference called for parishes across Germany to observe a "Day of Prayer for Harassed and Persecuted Christians," scheduled for Dec. 26. The bishops chose the day to coincide with the feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising also held a midday prayer service on Dec. 20 in Munich's Cathedral of Our Lady to pray for victims and their relatives.

Similar to an attack with a truck that took place in July in Nice, France, a tractor-trailer veered into the crowded Breitscheidplatz Christmas market in Berlin and plowed through bystanders, killing 12 people and wounding nearly 50.

In a Dec. 20 telegram sent by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, to Archbishop Heiner Koch of Berlin, Pope Francis prayed for the families of the dead and the wounded, "assuring his closeness in their pain."

"Pope Francis joins all people of good will who are working so that the homicidal madness of terrorism does not find any more room in our world," Cardinal Parolin wrote.

Meanwhile, police security increased around the Nuremberg Christmas Market, one of German's oldest Christmas markets. Police vehicles and personnel were stationed around the Catholic churches within the medieval old town and other heavily crowded areas throughout the main square.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

A Vatican source confirmed that a high-level Holy See delegation will travel to the Chinese capital for the signing and that a date has already been fixed for this ground-breaking event.
Gerard O’ConnellSeptember 18, 2018
Swiss Guards salute as Cardinals Timothy M. Dolan of New York and Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston leave a meeting of cardinals with Pope Francis in the synod hall at the Vatican Feb. 21, 2014. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) 
“The church has lost credibility in investigating itself.”
Jim McDermottSeptember 18, 2018
This economy is not working for human beings.
Brandon SanchezSeptember 18, 2018
Pope Francis leads a meeting with young people in Palermo, Sicily, Sept. 15. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Even after revelations about sexual abuse in the church, 79 percent of U.S. Catholics—but only 53 percent of all Americans—hold a favorable view of Pope Francis, according to a Gallup poll.
Michael J. O’LoughlinSeptember 18, 2018