Vatican, French Bishops Condemn Charlie Hebdo Massacre

the pope

Wednesday’s attack on the Paris offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 people were killed, caused “abhorrence” in the Vatican, according to sources at the Holy See press office.

The sources said the attack was to be doubly condemned, both as an act of terrorism and as an attack on freedom of the press. Italian security sources said that “special attention” is being paid to security at newspaper offices in the Vatican as Italy has been placed on maximum alert.

The Conference of Catholic Bishops of France also issued a statement condemning the attack on Charlie Hebdo, which it called an “unspeakable terror.”

The bishops express their “horror” of Wednesday’s attack, saying that their first thoughts go “to the families and friends of the victims who are faced with this horror.” They also express their deep sadness to the management and staff of Charlie Hebdo.

“Nothing can justify such violence,” the bishops said.

The attack “especially affects freedom of expression,” the statement reads, which is “a fundamental element of our society.”

This society that consists in a broad diversity of people, “must continually work to build peace and brotherhood,” the bishops said. “The barbarism expressed in this killing wounds all of us.”

The bishops concluded by saying that in this situation where anger can take hold, we need more than ever to redouble attention to our “fragile fraternity” and the peace that has still to be consolidated.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter: @tdwilliamsrome.