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Israel suicide bomb provokes strong papal terror condemnation

At his regular public audience yesterday, Pope John Paul II responded to the latest terror bombing in Israel by saying that those guilty of such "barbarous actions" will "answer before God".

The Pope asked those who had assembled to hear him to pray for the conversion of the "hardened hearts" that harbour hatred and promote terrorism. He spoke of his "spiritual solidarity" with the victims and their families, and asked prayers for those people as well.

However, the main focus of the Pope's remarks was a stern condemnation of terrorist actions. The latest bombing, he said, "can only cause the most absolute condemnation." He continued: "For the nth time I repeat, to those who plan and carry out such barbarous actions, that they will have to answer before God."

Since the papal condemnation, a fresh suicide bombing incident in Jerusalem has killed seven people. The attack came on the day after 19 people were killed in a suicide attack on a bus in the southern part of the city.

The Holy Father's condemnation of the terrorist bombing came after a meditation on a canticle from the Book of Deuteronomy. He had spoken of the Biblical image of God as a loving father. God calls men to account for their actions, he said, "but he tempers his judgment with infinite mercy."

The Pope's audience was held in the Paul VI auditorium at the Vatican, where the 8,000 pilgrims in attendance were sheltered from the fierce midday heat in Rome.

Fresh suicide bomb hits Jerusalem (BBC)


20 Jun 2002