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A piecemeal war erupts in Paris

HONG KONG (SE): “This is one piece,” Pope Francis told TV2000 on November 14, the day after horrific terrorist attacks were perpetrated against the people of France in Paris.

He said that he has spoken often about a third world war that will be fought piecemeal and he believes that this is but one more piece in the brutal puzzle.

“I am pained and saddened. I cannot comprehend it, but these things are difficult to understand,” he continued, adding, “I am close to the victim’s families and I am praying for them all.”

André Cardinal Vingt-Trois, the archbishop of Paris, described the attacks as particularly savage and intense.

“After the attacks of last January, after the attack in Beirut this week and many others in the past months, including Nigeria and other African countries, our country knows anew the pain of grief and must face the barbarism spread by fanatical groups,” Cardinal Vingt-Trois said.

“Faced with the violence of men, may we receive the grace of a firm heart, without hatred. May the moderation, temperance and control that has been shown so far, be confirmed in the weeks and months to come; let no one indulge in panic or hatred. We ask that grace be the artisan of peace. We need never despair of peace if we build justice.”

At a prayer service at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral on November 16, the bishop of Hong Kong, John Cardinal Tong Hon, said, “Humanly speaking, we find it hard to understand how such brutal actions could take place, but as believers in God’s mercy and love, in the depths of our hearts let us learn to forgive and leave judgement to God.”

The cardinal continued, “We certainly cannot set aside our pain and fear, but let us allow God to console us and let his grace embrace us.”

The Muslim community in France was quick to condemn the terrorist attacks.

The French Council of Muslim Faith described the rampant violence as abject and heinous and the Grand Mosque of Paris expressed the strongest condemnation of this wave of homicidal terrorist attacks.

The Union of Islamic Organisations of France expressed its communion with the nation, saying, “In a trying time such as this, only unity can allow us to beat this barbaric terrorism.”

Cardinal Vingt-Trois celebrated a Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral on the evening of November 15. 

The Mass was televised by a Church network to allow all who wished to join in prayer for the families that have suffered and for the welfare of the nation to do so.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they were in retaliation for French bombing of its forces in Syria.

One-hundred and-twenty-nine had died by November 15 with scores critically injured.

In Mumbai, India, the National Eucharistic Congress halted its proceedings for a minute of silence.

Oswald Cardinal Gracias told the gathering, “Ours is a cry to God that rises from deep in the silence, to commemorate the victims of the tragic events. We… called to be bread for others, pray in solidarity.”

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, from the Pontifical Council of New Evangelisation, told the magazine, Famiglia Cristiana, that he believes that the upcoming Jubilee of Divine Mercy is now more necessary than ever.

“It is one more reason to work together and to help each other, to explain to the world that religions do not exist to be imprisoned by hate, but they are to spread compassion and to work against fear as a way of life in all nations,” he reflected.

He explained that he thinks that the real drama of the piecemeal third world war that Pope Francis talks about began on 11 September 2001 and since then everything has remained the same; wars, military interventions, attacks, violence, horror…

“There is a long trail of violence that I think we tend to forget. I think of the attack on the youth at the university in Kenya, the editors of Charlie Hebdo, the series of bombings that continue to strike Iraq, the bombs in Lebanon the other day,” Archbishop Fisichella said.

He added that sadly the world has forgotten many conflicts, such as Syria, Libya and Iraq.

“You cannot continue having fragmented reading of the problem and the crisis. What is missing from politics and diplomacy is above all a geographical reading of an international reality that is completely intertwined. What happens touches the whole world,” he continued.

The archbishop concluded saying that the partial responses from individual governments will not triumph.

The French community in Hong Kong held a candlelight vigil at Tamar Park on November 16 in memory of those who died and to ask for strength and courage for those who still live.


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