Pope Francis used his New Year’s address to weigh in on last night’s terror attack in the Turkish capital of Istanbul and on the rising effects of terrorism worldwide.
Last night, a suspect opened fire on a group of New Year’s revelers at a nightclub in the ancient city killing 39 people, including a police officer and fifteen foreigners.
Another sixty five people were described as being in critical condition following the attack. The suspect is still at large and a massive manhunt is underway.
Also recently, a Christmas market in Germany was rocked by terrorism when a man who had suspected ties to the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) drove a truck through a crowd of people, killing 12 people and injuring 56.
Following these high profile incidents, Pope Francis decided to use his New Year’s address to call attention to the violence that is seemingly increasing throughout the world.
According to an NBC News report:
“Unfortunately, violence has stricken even in this night of good wishes and hope. Pained, I express my closeness to the Turkish people. I pray for the many victims and for the wounded and for the entire nation in mourning,” he said
“I ask the Lord to sustain all men of good will to courageously roll up their sleeves to confront the plague of terrorism and this stain of blood that is covering the world with a shadow of fear and a sense of loss,” he said.
“The year will be good in the measure that each one of us, with the help of God, seeks to do good day after day,” he told the crowd on a cold morning.
In an earlier New Year’s mass the Pope said, “The loss of the ties that bind us, so typical of our fragmented and divided culture, increases this sense of orphanhood and, as a result, of great emptiness and loneliness. The lack of physical, and not virtual, contact is cauterizing our hearts and making us lose the capacity for tenderness and wonder, for pity and compassion”
While the Pope is highly critical of all forms of terrorism, he has been careful in the past to not link Islam directly with terrorism. Back in August, he said, “I think it is not right to identify Islam with terrorism. It is not right and it is not true.”
“I think that in nearly all religions there is always a small fundamentalist group,” he added.