VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Sunday strongly condemned the attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, calling for the stamping out of “hotbeds of hate” and for stronger moral and civil values.
Speaking to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square after a Mass, Francis said that Saturday’s attack, in which 11 worshippers were killed and six others injured, was “terrible.” [L2N1X7059]
“All of us, in reality, are wounded by this inhuman act of violence,” said Francis, who has often condemned anti-Semitism and who wrote a book with a rabbi in their native Buenos Aires when he was the city’s archbishop before his election as pope.
Francis expressed his closeness to all the people of Pittsburgh “and in particular the Jewish community, stricken by a terrible attack on the synagogue”. He asked for prayers for the families of the victims and for healing for the wounded.
“May the Lord help us to put out the hotbeds of hate that flare up in our societies, strengthening a sense of humanity, respect for life, moral and civil values and the holy fear of God, who is love and the father of all,” Francis said.
Robert Bowers, 46, of Pittsburgh, was taken into custody after a shootout with a SWAT team. Federal prosecutors charged him with 29 criminal counts including violence and firearms offences, and violating U.S. civil rights laws.
Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Toby Chopra