ROME – Pope Francis in his Sunday Angelus address prayed for the five people who lost their lives in the breach of the United States Capitol by a pro-Trump mob last week and encouraged the country’s leaders to work toward national reconciliation.

Speaking from the library of the Vatican’s apostolic palace for his livestreamed Jan. 10 Angelus address, the pope offered “an affectionate greeting to the people of the United States of America, shaken by the recent siege of the Capitol.”

He offered specific prayers for the five people who lost their lives “in that dramatic moment,” insisting that violence “is always self-destructive, always. Nothing is gained with violence, and much is lost.”

Francis then urged “the State authority and the entire population to maintain a high sense of responsibility with the aim of encouraging souls, promoting national reconciliation, and safeguarding the values of democracy rooted in American society.”

His comments come just days after pro-Trump protestors contesting the results of the US presidential election stormed the nation’s Capitol Building Jan. 6.

In the course of the siege, protesters broke inside and infiltrated the Senate chamber as well as numerous offices, including that of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, forcing the evacuation of US Vice President Mike Pence and other lawmakers, as well as the suspension of the certification process of November’s presidential election results.

One woman was shot to death amid the chaos, and three others died as a result of what has been described as medical emergencies. One police officer also died several hours later due to injuries sustained from physically engaging with the rioters.

Pope Francis joins a chorus of international leaders and church officials throughout the world to condemn the violent siege. He also addressed the Capitol breach in an interview with Italian television channel Tg5 set to air Sunday night, saying he was “shocked” by the incident in a country “so disciplined in democracy.”

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