Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - Pope John Paul II has voiced his deep grief and sympathy to the people of Spain after the string of bomb blasts in Madrid’s underground this morning in which 170 people were killed and at least 600 injured. In a telegramme sent on his behalf by his Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, addressed to Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, the Pope assures him of his prayers and closeness to the families and the nation.
In his message that Pope recalls that this morning’s terrorist attacks, which killed so many people and inured many more, struck when people were on their way to work, “cruelly plunging their families and Spanish society in general into grief ”. Giovanni Paolo II confirms his “resolute and absolute condemnation of such unjustifiable acts which offend God, violate the fundamental right to life and threaten the peaceful co-existence deeply desired by the ecclesial communities and the noble Spanish nation”. The Holy Father says he offers prayers for the repose of the souls of the dead, assures their families of his closeness and wishes the injured a speedy recovery. Lastly the Pope encourages the people of Spain “to continue with perseverance and not losing hope on the path towards peaceful and serene coexistence”, and invoking the protection of the Immaculate Mary he imparts his apostolic blessing. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 11/3/2004; Righe 14 - Parole 198)