Terrorism is escalating in its cruelty throughout Europe, Pope Francis says

Victims of terrorism are not to be forgotten, Pope Francis said following recent terrorist attacks in Europe.

The pope made the appeal during his weekly general audience in the Library of the Apostolic Palace on Nov. 4.

“In these days of prayer for the dead, we have remembered and continue to remember the helpless victims of terrorism, which is escalating in its cruelty throughout Europe,” Pope Francis said.  

“I am thinking, in particular, of the serious attack in Nice in recent days, in a place of worship, and of the other one the day before yesterday in the streets of Vienna, which caused dismay and reprobation among the population and those who cherish peace and dialogue,” he said.

The pope was referring to a knife attack at a church in Nice, France, that killed three people and wounded several others on Oct. 29 and a shooting rampage in Vienna, Austria, that killed four people on Nov. 2. Both incidences are reported to be Islamist terror attacks.

“I entrust to God’s mercy the people who have tragically departed, and I express my spiritual closeness to their families and to all those who suffer as a result of these deplorable events, which seek to compromise fraternal cooperation between religions through violence and hatred,” the pope said.

A mourner places a candle at the site of a gun attack in Vienna, Austria, Nov. 4. (Photo by Leonhard Foeger/Reuters)

The two attacks follow the beheading of a French teacher who showed controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to some of his students last month.

The attacks have come at a time of growing Muslim anger at France’s defense of the right to publish the cartoons, and protesters have denounced France in street rallies in several Muslim-majority countries.

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