Pope Francis denounced the “inhuman” and “terrible attack” on a synagogue in Pittsburgh yesterday, expressed his “closeness” to the Jewish community and the people of that city, and prayed for all the victims and their relatives.
“May the Most High receive the dead in his peace, comfort their families and sustain the wounded,” he prayed as he addressed thousands of pilgrims from many countries gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, Oct. 28.
“We are all, in reality, wounded by this inhuman act of violence,” he said. He was referring to the attack that took place on Saturday, Oct.27, when Robert D. Bowers, 46, armed with an assault rifle and handguns started shooting indiscriminately inside the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue. According to several news sources, Mr. Bowers was shouting “All Jews must die” and anti-Semitic slurs. The attack left at least 11 adults dead, and wounded several others including four police officers. The police have arrested Bowers.
It was one of the deadliest attacks against the Jewish community in this country, and took place amidst a climate of hate-speech and violence, as the nation moves towards crucial midterm elections.
May the Lord help us to quench these hotbeds of hate that are developing in our societies.
Pope Francis today alluded to that climate of hate and violence that is developing on both sides of the Atlantic when he prayed, “may the Lord help us to quench these hotbeds of hate that are developing in our societies, by reinforcing the sense of humanity, the respect for life, moral and civil values, and the holy fear of God, who is Love and the Father of all.”
Speaking at the launch of the book Sharing the Wisdom of Time in Rome last week, the pope recalled the rise of populism in Europe in the 1920s and its consequences, and went on to warn people against the emergence of hate in today’s world as a result of the emergence of new populisms. His words are particularly relevant in the light of the political climate in the United States and Europe today.