.- Before a large assembly of the faithful, civil and military authorities, and family members of victims gathered at the Archdiocesan cathedral to commemorate the first anniversary of the Madrid train bombings, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, Archbishop of Madrid, said, “Terrorism will never have the last word,” and he exhorted all to “overcome evil with good.” During the Mass which was concelebrated by the Apostolic Nuncio in Spain, Archbishop Manuel Monteiro, Bishop Ricardo Blazquez, President of the Bishops Conference of Spain, and twenty other Spanish bishops, Cardinal Rouco urged that “spiritual and material” comfort continue to be shown towards the victims and their families.
In his homily, the cardinal noted that, “The Cross of Christ was made present in an inexplicable, absurd and tragic way in the terrible terrorist attacks that shook the conscience of our city and of the whole world,” leaving us with the spiritual impression of “having been tried in the crucible.”
Cardinal Rouco recalled the “sacrifice” of the 192 victims and the suffering of their family members, and he expressed his hope for “peace in the hearts of all those who will live forever with this tragedy.” After alluding to the death of Christ, he reminded those gathered that “death is not that last reality of human life.”
The cardinal condemned the “criminal actions” of the terrorists, who took the lives of “innocent ones” who “are now in the hands of God” and are now enjoying “eternal life.” He also offered encouragement to the family members saying, “Darkness and anxiety shall not last,” and that man “is not made for death, but rather for life.” He praised Spanish society for its spontaneity and solidarity, regardless of religious creed, in response to the attacks.
The last word
In his condemnation of terrorism, Cardinal Rouco alluded to the latest book by Pope John Paul II, “Memory and Identity,” in which the Pope speaks of the “ideologies of evil,” which include “contemporary theories which claim to justify and/or explain away modern terrorism, overlooking the hatred which nourishes them.”
The cardinal called for the “definitive eradication” of terrorism, and he assured that it “will never have the last word” in the lives of people, both in Spain and in the world. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,” he said, adding that justice, merciful love, hope and peace will have the last word.
“Victory over terrorism will certainly flourish at the end of this long road. May God bless us in the noble and necessary endeavors of society and in the definitive eradication of terrorism. May God bless Spain and the world,” he concluded.