Pope Francis has called the attacks in Paris on Friday 13 November 2015 “a piece” of the “piecemeal Third World War.” In a telephone interview on Saturday 14 November with the Italian Bishops’ Conference official television network – TV 2000 – Pope Francis said the attacks are “not human.” He said: “I am close to the people of France, to the families of the victims, and I am praying for all of them,” Pope Francis said. “I am moved and I am saddened. I do not understand, these things hard to understand.” When asked if this is part of the “piecemeal Third World War” the Holy Father has mentioned many times before, Pope Francis said “this is a piece of it,” adding “there is no religious or human justification for it.”
Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland called for prayers for those who died and were injured. He said that “the sounds and images of these attacks make for frightening viewing” and that like himself “many Irish people have relatives or close friends living in Paris and have happy memories of visiting this beautiful city”. He said that “our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Paris today and we express our solidarity with the French community living here in Ireland.”
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin said the Paris killings are a horrific example of what fundamentalism can do. Speaking in Dublin on the Feast of Saint Laurence O’Toole the Archbishop said “Faith which does not foster questioning in our hearts and which becomes an ideology opens the path to dangerous fundamentalism. The events which took place last night in Paris are a horrific example of what fundamentalism can do and what happens when religion is distorted for ideological reasons. Pope Benedict went so far as to say that: ‘the pathology of religion is the most dangerous sickness of the human spirit’. Saint Laurence O’Toole, whose feast day we celebrate today, was a European peace-maker in his time: an Irish bishop who died in France on a mission to the Norman King to secure peace for his native Dublin.
Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor highlighted how painfully aware we are of the precarious, insecure and troubled state of the human family and the cosmos in our times, of which last night’s barbaric and monstrous attacks in Paris were cruel expressions. Speaking in Saint John’s Parish in Belfast at the inauguration of the parish pastoral council, Bishop Treanor said: “We hold in our prayers and thoughts those who were killed, their families and friends, the injured and the people of France”.
Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin tweeted his support for the people of Paris:
Archbishop Eamon Martin and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin asked the faithful to remember at Masses those who have died and their families and asked for prayers for those injured and all who are caring for them.
The Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Read the full text of the bishops’ statements: