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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Strasbourg bishop speaks of ‘lucid madness’ after terror attack

At noon on 12th December, the bells of every Catholic church in Strasbourg rang for 10 minutes to honour the victims of a terror attack at a Christmas market the previous day.

On 11th December, a shooter opened fire on the crowd, killing at least three and injuring 12 others. Police said the suspect, a 29-year-old man presumably linked to radical Islam, fled the scene after he was injured by soldiers. The attacker was said to have yelled “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the greatest) during the incident. Police said the suspect was radicalised while in prison.

“Once again, once again, terrorist violence has struck us,” Archbishop Luc Ravel of Strasbourg said in a statement. He said he felt the same “vertigo” he had after the 2015 terror attacks in Paris.

“Vertigo in front of the lucid madness of the assassin, who should not make anyone believe that his act is rational or religious. It is absolutely necessary that all religious authorities rigorously denounce this vicious rapprochement between God and terrorism,” said Archbishop Ravel.

Pope Francis expressed his “sadness and concern” after learning of the attack in Strasbourg, as well as his “firm condemnation against such acts.”

In a telegram sent on 12th December by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, the pope offered prayers for the victims, the wounded and their families.

“As he entrusts the deceased to God’s mercy, the Holy Father sends a special thought for the professionals and volunteers who are taking care of the wounded,” Cardinal Parolin said in the message sent to Archbishop Luc Ravel of Strasbourg.

Picture: Police work at the scene early on 12th December after a shooting at the Christkindelsmaerik (Christ Child market) in Strasbourg, France. At least three people were killed while one person was left brain dead and at least a dozen others were injured after a gunman attacked the market on 11th December, authorities said. (CNS photo/Christian Hartmann, Reuters).