Pope on Barcelona: Blind violence, ‘very great insult’ to God

Pope Francis

Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church

Truck hits pedestrians on busy Barcelona street (ABC News)
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Killing people indiscriminately is a “very great insult” to God, Pope Francis says in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Spain, in which 14 people died.

“The Holy Father once again condemns blind violence, which is a very great insult to the Lord, and raises his prayers to the Almighty so that He may help us continue working with determination for peace and harmony in the world,” the Vatican said.

The message was relayed in a telegram of condolence to the Archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Juan Omella.

In an earlier statement, the Vatican had said that Francis was following events “with great anxiety” and was praying for the victims.

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A white van jumped onto a sidewalk and sped down a pedestrian zone on Thursday in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district, swerving from side to side as it plowed into tourists and residents.

Authorities said 14 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded, 15 of them seriously, in what they called a terror attack while.

The police killed five suspects.

The afternoon attack in the northeastern Spanish city was the country’s deadliest since 2004 when al-Qaida-inspired bombers killed 192 people in coordinated attacks on Madrid’s commuter trains.

Citizens from at least 34 countries were injured or killed in the van attack in the Las Ramblas area of Barcelona and the coastal town of Cambrils, according to Catalan authorities.