Pope Francis Mourns Victims of ‘Senseless Violence’ in Texas Church Massacre

Pope Francis leads a mass on November 2, 2017 at the U.S. World War II cemetery on the day Christians around the world commemorate their dead, in Nettuno, near Rome, on November 2, 2017. Pope Francis will celebrate a mass at the American cemetery today before a visit at the …

Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolences to the families and victims of the San Antonio slaughter, expressing his grief over the “senseless violence.”

On Monday, a gunman identified as Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire on worshipers in the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs near San Antonio, leaving 27 people dead and dozens more injured. Reports indicate that Kelley was a militant atheist who thought Christians were stupid.

“He was always talking about how people who believe in God we’re stupid and trying to preach his atheism,” said Kelley’s former New Braunfels High School classmate Nina Rose Nava in a Facebook post. “I legit just deleted him off my fb cause I couldn’t stand his post,” she said.

As dictated by protocol in these cases, the Pope’s telegram is addressed to the Archbishop of San Antonio, the Most Reverend Gustavo Garcia-Siller, and signed on behalf of the Pope by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

“Deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of senseless violence perpetrated at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, the Holy Father asks you kindly to convey his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and the wounded, to the members of the congregation, and to the entire local community,” the message states.

“He asks our Lord Jesus Christ to console all who mourn and to grant them the spiritual strength that triumphs over violence and hatred by the power of forgiveness, hope and reconciling love,” the telegram concludes.

Monday’s massacre was halted by a former NRA instructor who went for his rifle when his daughter told him she had heard gunshots at the church.

The man, Stephen Willeford, ran out of his home barefoot to engage the attacker, positioning himself behind a car. Willeford shot the attacker as he walked out of the church in the midst of the attack.

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