ROME – Pope Francis met Monday with Cardinal Gérald Lacroix of Quebec, conveying his sorrow for the victims of a shooting the night before in a mosque in Quebec City. He condemned the attack, saying Christians and Muslims should unite in prayer over the tragedy.
According to a Vatican communique, Pope Francis met with Cardinal Lacroix on January 30 following his morning Mass in the chapel of Casa Santa Marta.
The Pope’s condolences were also communicated in a message to the cardinal sent by Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, which said that the Pope “entrusts to the mercy of God the people who have lost their lives and he unites himself in prayer to the sorrow of those close to them.”
Six people were killed and 17 injured after gunmen opened fire inside the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec during evening prayers on January 29.
In his message the Pope expressed “his deep sympathy to the wounded and their families, and to all those who have contributed to the aid, asking the Lord to bring comfort and consolation to the trial.”
“The Holy Father strongly condemns the violence that engenders so much suffering,” the message continues, “and imploring God for the gift of mutual respect and peace, he invokes upon the families and the people affected by this tragedy as well as all Quebecois the benefit of the Divine Blessings.”
The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue also sent a communique, stating that the council learned of the “brutal attack perpetrated against Muslims gathered in prayer … in their place of worship” with “deep sadness and outrage.”
“With this senseless act were violated the sanctity of human life and respect due to a community in prayer and a place of worship that welcomes,” it continued.
“The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue strongly condemns this act of unprecedented violence and wishes to submit its full solidarity with the Muslims of Canada, ensuring its fervent prayers for the victims and their families.”
Both suspects in the shooting have been arrested, Quebec police have confirmed. The police have refused to comment on a motive for the attack.