Pope’s prayers as Italy reels from bomb attack and deadly quake
Pope Benedict prayed for Italy and the victims of two catastrophes that have struck the nation this weekend, one man made and one a natural calamity.
The first was a Saturday morning bomb attack on a Brindisi high school, which the Pope described as a “cowardly” act of “brutal violence”. Investigators say that the attack which killed a teenaged girl and wounded 10 others – prompting spontaneous demonstrations throughout Italy – was probably carried out by an individual with no links to the mafia, as had been feared at first.
The second catastrophe was a deadly earthquake early Sunday morning in the Emilia region. Registering magnitude 6 on the Richter scale, it was felt across northern Italy and as far away as Milan and Venice, forcing terrified residents into the streets.
Authorities report severe damage, with many collapsed buildings in ancient hill top towns and rescuers are still searching for survivors beneath rubble.
As he ended his midday appointment in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict’s last thoughts went to them: “We implore God’s mercy for those who have died”, he said “and relief from suffering for the injured”.