On Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI called upon 40,000 who attended at the St. Peter’s Square to pray for the victims of the attack on London, and for those who have devised it that God may touch their hearts. At the same time, the pope issued his strongest condemnation on terrorist calling them to “Stop, in the name of God!”
This was the second time that the pope had issued a message on the blast in London. His forceful remarks has made this the strongest stance the Vatican has taken against terrorism since the pope was elected on April 19.
“We all feel a deep sorrow for last Thursday’s atrocious terrorist attacks. We pray for the people killed, the wounded and for their dear ones,” he said.
“But we also pray for the perpetrators: may the Lord touch their hearts. To those who foment sentiments of hatred and to those who carry out such repugnant actions, I say: “God loves life, which he created, not death. Stop, in the name of God!”
The blast that has taken the lives of 49 people and wounded hundreds shocked the world. Both Catholics and Christians have responded immediately to the attacks with prayers and condolences. A few hours after the attack, the pope sent a telegram to the archbishop of Westminister calling it “barbaric acts against humanity.”
The pope also drew attention on Monday’s commemoration of St. Benedict of Norcia and revealed that St. Benedict had been the reason why he chose the name for his papacy. “Tomorrow is the feast of St Benedict Abate, Patron of Europe, a saint particularly dear to me, as can be divined from my choice of his name.”
Benedict of Norcia, who was born around 480, founded a monastic community that eventually became the Benedictine order, the main guardians of learning and literature in Western Europe in the dark centuries that followed the fall of the Roman Empire. The pope mentioned his accomplishments in building monasteries and gave birth to a community of prayers and harmoniously praised God, and how his spirituality serves as a model for today.
Starting Monday, the pope will be on his 17-day vacation to Valle D’Aosta in Italy. This was also where John Paul II had spent many of his summer vacations as well. The pope, like his former self, loves to walk in the mountains. Afterwards, he plans to head toward papal residence Castel Gandolfo at the south of Rome for the rest of the summer.