Pope mourns 'brutal killing' of priest, urges end to violence

Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square before the Wednesday general audience, May 22, 2013. Credit: Stephen Driscoll/CNA.

In comments made following his general audience address, Pope Francis lamented the killing of a Jesuit priest in Syria, and appealed to the country’s leaders to foster peace and respect human dignity.

“Please, silence your weapons, and end the violence! No more war! No more destruction!” the Pope exclaimed in comments made April 9.

Fr. Frans van der Lugt S.J., aged 75 and a native of the Netherlands, was killed April 7 after he was beaten and shot dead by gunmen in the city of Homs, where he was caring for the fewer than 30 Christians who remain in the Old City district, which has been blockaded by the Syrian regime for nearly two years.

The priest had worked in Syria since 1967. He was a psychotherapist and was involved in interreligious dialogue. In the 1980s, he built a spirituality center in Homs which housed some 40 children with mental disabilities.

Speaking to pilgrims in Italian, the pontiff described Fr. van der Lugt as a man who “always did good to all, with gratuity and love,” and who was “loved and admired by both Christians and Muslims.”

“His brutal murder has filled me with profound pain and made me think again of the many people who suffer and die in that martyred country - my beloved Syria! - which has already for too long been gripped by bloody conflict, which continues to reap death and destruction.”

Pope Francis also expressed that the priest’s violent death makes him think “of the many people who have been abducted, Christians and Muslims, Syrians and those from other countries, among whom there are bishops and priests.”

“We ask the Lord that they will quickly return to their loved ones and to their families and communities,” he prayed.

The pontiff once again entreated the Syrian leaders to work and pray for peace.

He also asked that there might be a greater “respect for humanitarian law, care for the people who need humanitarian assistance and may the people reach the desired peace through dialogue and reconciliation.”

Fr. van der Lugt had often lamented the lack of medicine, food, and aid to civilians trapped in Homs by the Syrian regime's siege, and repeatedly called for intervention on the civilians’ behalf.

In a statement issued by the Vatican, spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi reflected that the slain priest “died as a man of peace” and acted “with great courage in an extremely dangerous and difficult situation.”

Given the siege, his body cannot be recovered.


Voices

A bluebird day: Commercial fisherman Captain Geordie King

Heather King

Back in New England, my brother Geordie’s been a commercial fisherman for more than 30 years. He developed his passion for boats as a kid, out fishing and pulling lobster traps with my father.

Together in Mission 300x250

Events

October 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31

October 25, 2014

  • Saturday, October 25

    World Apostolate of Fatima Conference, 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. (noon Mass, Bishop Alexander Salazar presiding), Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple St., L.A. (310) 890-7912.

    Our Lady of the Angels Region Congress, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., St. Mary’s Academy, Inglewood; $. (310) 216-9587.

    “Sing to the Lord!” formation day for music ministers, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Mary Star of the Sea Church, 463 W. Pleasant Valley Rd., Oxnard; $. (805) 469-6293.

     “Ethical Care at the End of Life,” seminar addressing end-of-life issues, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Our Lady of the Assumption Church, 3175 Telegraph Ave., Ventura. (805) 642-6403.

    Holiday Boutique, to support Little Sisters of the Poor, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Jeanne Jugan Residence, 2100 S. Western Ave., San Pedro. (310) 548-0625.

    St. Pius-St. Matthias Academy Open House, 10 a.m., 7851 E. Gardendale St., Downey. (562) 861-2271.

    Requiem Mass, for children lost to miscarriage and stillbirth, 10 a.m., St. Therese Church, 510 N. El Molino St., Alhambra. (626) 733-2297.

     “Mission Music,” with De Angelis Vocal Ensemble, 2 p.m., Mission San Juan Capistrano Basilica, 31520 Camino Capistrano,; $. [714] 928-9567.

    St. Philip the Apostle School Fall Festival, 2-10 p.m., 161 S. Hill Ave., Pasadena. (626) 795-9691.

    “Touch & Heal,” Cathedral Chapel  benefit concert, 4:30 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. concert, Bishop Conaty-Our Lady of Loretto HS, 2900 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles; $. (323) 930-5976.

The Tidings - Home Delivery 300x100

Get our news by email

The Holy Father visits the Holy Land
Bob Smith BMW 300x250
Bob Smith Toyota 300x250
Bob Smith Mini 300x250