Pope Benedict XVI has joined with Church leaders in India in condemning the terror attacks that have killed 130 people in India’s financial center of Mumbai.

In a telegram signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, the Pope asked Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai to convey his “heartfelt condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in these brutal attacks, and to assure the public authorities, citizens, and all those affected of his spiritual closeness,” the Catholic news agency Asianews reported.

The Holy Father said he is “deeply concerned about the outbreak of violence” in Mumbai and “urgently appeals for an end to all acts of terrorism, which gravely offend the human family and severely destabilize the peace and solidarity needed to build a civilization worthy of mankind’s noble vocation to love God and neighbor.”

Benedict said he is praying “for the repose of the souls of the victims and implores God’s gift of strength and comfort for those who are injured and in mourning.”

In an interview with Asianews, Cardinal Gracias said, “Our words cannot express our shock at this incident; I am deeply saddened by this attack on our city and on our beloved nation as a whole.”

Said Cardinal Gracias, “Mumbai is our city, where mutual tolerance and understandings between cultures and religions has prevailed despite of the attempts to rip apart our city, now we will continue to build bridges of understanding between peoples, cultures and religions. We must overcome evil with good and seek peace.

“This terror attack was not an act of the people who love our country, this is not India, and this is not Mumbai. Mumbai is a very tolerant and brave city. India is a great country and very tolerant.”

Said Cardinal Gracias, “The people who carried out these deadly attacks, are misguided people, who have been deluded and brainwashed into the ideologies and propaganda of the cause, but this is madness, they bring death, fear, panic and disrupt the harmony and lives of the city and country …

“But we do not despair, we do not give up Hope that Goodness will prevail, that God will lead us from darkness of chaos to Light, Peace, and Harmony,” Cardinal Gracias said. “God Bless our city Mumbai! God Bless India!”

— Tom McFeely