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Pope Francis: laments “brutal killing” of Dutch Jesuit priest in Syria


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis expressed his profound pain over the “brutal killing” of the Dutch Jesuit Priest Father Frans van der Lugt in Syria and called for an end to the conflict there. His appeal came at the end of his Wednesday general audience.

Speaking in Italian, Pope Francis said the victim had always carried out good works for everybody and because of this “was admired by both Christians and Moslems.” “His brutal killing filled me with profound pain and made me think again of the many people who suffer and die in that tortured country, my beloved Syria, which has already for far too long been gripped by bloody conflict, which continues to mete out death and destruction. I’m also thinking of the many people kidnapped, Christians and Moslems, Syrians and those from other countries, who include bishops and priests.”

The Pope also appealed once again for peace in the war-torn country. “From my heart, I ask you all to join with my prayer for peace in Syria and in the region, and I send a concerned appeal to those responsible in Syria and to the international community: put down your arms, end the violence! No more war! No more destruction.” He also urged that human rights be respected in Syria and that those in need be given humanitarian assistance.

Aged 75, Father van der Lugt had been living in Syria for many decades. He was beaten and shot dead by gunmen in the city of Homs on Monday.

Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni... RealAudioMP3