Pope Benedict XVI issued a “heartfelt” plea to all on Sunday, following the terrorist attacks in Norway. He called on everyone to “abandon forever the path of hatred and escape from the logic of evil,” as he offered his prayers for the victims and their families.
The Pope said that the news of the bombing in downtown Oslo and the subsequent shooting at a youth camp caused him deep sorrow and left him grief-stricken.
Catholics in Norway are feeling much the same way.
“We are so used to being this quiet little nation where nothing like this happens,” said Fr. Paul Bratbak, the communications director for the Diocese of Oslo, in a July 22 interview with CNA.
“It's just too much to take in at the moment.”
The July 22 attacks began when Anders Behring Breivik—by his own admission—detonated a car bomb at the government headquarters in downtown Oslo. That attack took the lives of seven people and injured many more.
Hours later Breivik appeared at a youth camp for the children of the political Labour Party on Utoya Island and, dressed as a policeman, began a shooting spree. The number of dead stands at 86 as of Sunday, according to Norwegian police.
Police are questioning Breivik, but his motive for carrying out the terrorist attacks remains unclear.
Norwegians gathered Sunday at the Church of Norway's Olso Cathedral for a memorial service that was attended by the country's king and queen.