Virginia Tech massacre "senseless tragedy": Pope

VATICAN CITY Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:44am EDT

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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict believes the U.S. university shooting that left 33 people dead was a "senseless tragedy" and is praying for the victims and their families, the Vatican said on Tuesday.

The Pope expressed his condolences in a telegram sent in his name to Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of Richmond, Virginia.

"Deeply saddened by news of the shooting at Virginia Tech, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has asked me to convey the assurance of his heartfelt prayers for the victims, their families and for the entire school community," said the telegram, sent by Secretary of State Cardinal Tarciscio Bertone.

"In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy he asks God our father to console all those who mourn and to grant them that spiritual strength which triumphs over violence by the power of forgiveness, hope and reconciling love," it said.

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