Loading
Pope mourns 'brutal killing' of priest, urges end to violence
Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square before the Wednesday general audience, May 22, 2013. Credit: Stephen Driscoll/CNA.
Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square before the Wednesday general audience, May 22, 2013. Credit: Stephen Driscoll/CNA.

.- In comments made following his general audience address, Pope Francis lamented the killing of a Jesuit priest in Syria, and appealed to the country’s leaders to foster peace and respect human dignity.

“Please, silence your weapons, and end the violence! No more war! No more destruction!” the Pope exclaimed in comments made April 9.

Fr. Frans van der Lugt S.J., aged 75 and a native of the Netherlands, was killed April 7 after he was beaten and shot dead by gunmen in the city of Homs, where he was caring for the fewer than 30 Christians who remain in the Old City district, which has been blockaded by the Syrian regime for nearly two years.

The priest had worked in Syria since 1967. He was a psychotherapist and was involved in interreligious dialogue. In the 1980s, he built a spirituality center in Homs which housed some 40 children with mental disabilities.

Speaking to pilgrims in Italian, the pontiff described Fr. van der Lugt as a man who “always did good to all, with gratuity and love,” and who was “loved and admired by both Christians and Muslims.”

“His brutal murder has filled me with profound pain and made me think again of the many people who suffer and die in that martyred country - my beloved Syria! - which has already for too long been gripped by bloody conflict, which continues to reap death and destruction.”

Pope Francis also expressed that the priest’s violent death makes him think “of the many people who have been abducted, Christians and Muslims, Syrians and those from other countries, among whom there are bishops and priests.”

“We ask the Lord that they will quickly return to their loved ones and to their families and communities,” he prayed.

The pontiff once again entreated the Syrian leaders to work and pray for peace.

He also asked that there might be a greater “respect for humanitarian law, care for the people who need humanitarian assistance and may the people reach the desired peace through dialogue and reconciliation.”

Fr. van der Lugt had often lamented the lack of medicine, food, and aid to civilians trapped in Homs by the Syrian regime's siege, and repeatedly called for intervention on the civilians’ behalf.

In a statement issued by the Vatican, spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi reflected that the slain priest “died as a man of peace” and acted “with great courage in an extremely dangerous and difficult situation.”

Given the siege, his body cannot be recovered.

Tags: Syria, Violence against priests, Pope Francis


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Papal Foundation Pilgrimage
Exorcism or prayer of liberation?
First meeting of Commission for Protection of Minors
Jul
22

Liturgical Calendar

July 22, 2014

Saint Mary Magdalene

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:24-43

Gospel
Date
07/20/14
07/19/14
07/18/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Mic 7: 14-15, 18-20

Saint of the Day

St. Mary Magdalene »

Saint
Date

Homily of the Day

Mt 12:38-42

Homily
Date
07/21/14
07/20/14
07/19/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: