Pope Francis condemns 'senseless shooting,' calls for end of violence after July Fourth parade attack

Pope Francis, picture on Oct. 4, 2014 Pope Francis, pictured on Oct. 4, 2014. | Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk.

Pope Francis has expressed shock and sadness over the mass shooting that led to the death of at least six and wounded some 30 others at a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland on Monday.

In a telegram sent on behalf of the Holy Father to Cardinal Blase Cupich, the Archbishop of Chicago, the pope condemned the “senseless shooting,” appealing for a rejection of all forms of violence.

The telegram was sent on his behalf by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, reported Vatican News. 

Pope Francis asked the Cardinal to convey his spiritual closeness to all affected by this attack.

Robert E. Crimo III, a 22-year-old from Highland Park, was apprehended late Monday in connection with the shooting. 

Crimo had been identified earlier in the day as a person of interest in the shooting.

The pope’s telegram said he joined “the entire community in praying that Almighty God will grant eternal rest to the dead and healing and consolation to the injured and bereaved.”  

“With unwavering faith that the grace of God is able to convert even the hardest of hearts, making it possible to depart from evil and do good,” the message continued, Pope Francis prayed “that every member of society will reject violence in all of its forms and respect life in all of its stages.”

Pope Francis concluded his message with an Apostolic Blessing “as a pledge of strength and peace in the Lord.”

Highland Park is an affluent suburb about 20 miles north of Chicago along Lake Michigan.

In a statement, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago said he was praying for the victims and first responders. He also spoke out strongly against the scourge of gun violence.

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