.- Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his condolences to the relatives of the Air France flight which disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean on Monday during a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.
The telegram, signed by the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, was sent to Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli, acting Apostolic Nuncio in France and recently appointed to replace Cardinal J. Francis Stafford as head of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
"The Holy Father expresses his condolences to the grieving families and assures his deep spiritual closeness to all those touched by this drama," says the telegram in French.
The Pope "has entrusted the deceased to the divine mercy, asking the Almighty to welcome them into his peace and light."
"Asking God to offer his support and consolation to all the persons so sorely put to the test, and wishing them to find in their surroundings the help they need in this time of sorrow, the Pope imparts his apostolic blessing to everyone affected by this tragedy," the message concludes.