Pope Francis on Wednesday said the recent terrorist acts in Vienna and Nice are an attempt to undermine interfaith dialogue and cooperation.
During his weekly audience, Francis said increasingly cruel forms of terrorism were spreading in Europe, specifically mentioning the attacks in Austria and France.
The leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics called them “deplorable events, which try to undermine, with violence and hatred, brotherly cooperation between religions.’’
In Vienna, an attacker went on a shooting rampage on Monday, killing four people and injuring more than 20, in an attack for which Islamic State claimed responsibility.
On Saturday, another man killed three people in a Nice church, in what French President Emmanuel Macron described as “a terrorist, Islamist attack.’’
The pope’s audience was the first in two months to be held with no public in attendance, due to tightened precautions against coronavirus.
In his introductory remarks, Francis urged people listening in via videoconference to be “very careful” in following anti-virus rules set by politicians and health authorities.
The 83-year-old pope, however, has raised eyebrows for hardly ever using a face mask in public. He was not wearing one during the audience, held in the library of the Apostolic Palace.
About 10 priests were in attendance, all seated and distanced. (dpa/NAN)