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Pope condemns Spain terror attacks

Pope John Paul II has expressed his "firm and absolute condemnation" of the "abominable attacks" on Madrid trains that claimed over 190 lives and more than 1200 injuries during Thursday's morning rush hour.

In a telegram of condolence to the Madrid's Cardinal Antonio Marķa Rouco Varela, the Holy Father said that the "unjustifiable acts offend God, violate the fundamental right to life and eradicate peaceful community living".

The message, signed by the Vatican Secretary of State, Angelo Sodano on behalf of the Pope, mentioned the "cruelty" of the attacks, which have "thrown families and the whole of Spanish society into a state of mourning".

Stressing his "solidarity with the families who are mourning their dead", he assured the Cardinal that he would be praying for the "rapid healing of the wounded". He said he hopes "the dear Spanish people continue with steadfastness on the path of peaceful and serene coexistence".

Caritas Internationalis Secretary-General Duncan MacLaren sent a message of solidarity to the Secretary-General of Caritas Spain, condemning the "criminal action for which there is absolutely no justification".

Rome-based General Assistant of the Saverian order told MISNA that all involved must be allowed to grieve before responding appropriately in a "path of dialogue".

"The emotion is human, but we must also reflect on what has happened, because if on the one hand it must not go unpunished, on the other the country must not sink into blind repression."

On Wednesday, the Pope devoted his Wednesday Audience to a message urging Christians not to allow themselves to be seduced by the attraction of violence.

He said: "In the face of all kinds of violence, the just man opposes with faith, kindness, forgiveness, the offer of peace."

Madrid attacks: Pope condemns "abominable" violence (MISNA 11/3/04)
A message of solidarity for the people of Spain (Caritas Internationalis 11/3/04)
Madrid attacks: Spanish Saverian, "condemnation and search for dialogue" (MISNA 11/3/04)
Pope Urges Christians to Shun Lure of Violence (Zenit 10/3/04)

Telegram for terrorist attacks in Spain (Vatican Information Service 11/3/04)
World leaders outraged over attack in Spain (Associated Press/Arizona Republic 11/3/04)
Pope condemns Spanish terror bombing (Catholic World News 11/3/04)
Madrid: "most serious attack in living memory," according to missionary (MISNA 11/3/04)
Bush, European Leaders, Pope
Spain's PM vows to catch bombers (BBC 11/3/04)

12 Mar 2004