Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, has sent the following message of condolence on behalf of Pope Francis to Archbishop André Marceau of Nice following last night's terrorist attack in the southern French city.
"While France was celebrating its national day, blind violence struck the country in Nice, causing many casualties, including children. Condemning such acts again, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses his deep sorrow and his spiritual closeness to the French people. He entrusts God's mercy on those who lost their lives, and shares deeply the pain of bereaved families. He expresses his sympathy to those injured and to all those who contributed to the rescue, asking the Lord to support each person in this ordeal. Imploring from God the gift of peace and harmony, he invokes the benefits of divine blessings on grieving families and all the French people.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State of His Holiness"
Earlier this morning, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi issued the following statement:
"With great concern we have followed throughout this night the terrible news from Nice. We express on the behalf of Pope Francis our sympathy and solidarity with the suffering of the victims and of all the French people in what was supposed to be a day of great holiday.
We condemn in the strongest terms all manifestations of homicidal madness, hatred, terrorism and every attack against peace."
France's bishops' conference also issued this statement:
"Nice was struck yesterday by a heinous attack.
Men, women and children were blindly killed while they were coming to celebrate July 14, 2016 with the entire country.
The Bishops' Conference of France (CEF) fully shares the grief of relatives and families of the victims. It assures them of their thoughts and prayers. Mons. Georges Pontier, archbishop of Marseille, president of the CEF, invites all Catholics in France to pray especially for the victims and their families at Mass this Sunday, July 17.
This tragedy adds to the sad list of terrorist acts that have marred our country and other countries in the world for many months. Whatever the reason, this barbarism is unacceptable, intolerable.
Our country was hurt while living a moment of national unity. More than ever, national solidarity must be stronger than terrorism.
In the pain of the day, we need to keep the certainty that unity is greater than division."