Pope prays for victims of Newtown school shooting

Mourners gather inside St. Rose of Lima Church for a vigil service in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14.

CNS PHOTO | ANDREW GOMBERT, POOL VIA REUTERS

Mourners gather inside St. Rose of Lima Church for a vigil service in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14.

December 24, 2012

After 20 children and six adults were shot dead in Connecticut, Pope Benedict offered his condolences and prayers, urging all to dedicate themselves to acts of peace in the face of such “senseless violence.”

After reciting the Angelus Dec. 17, the pope, speaking in English, said he was “deeply saddened” by the Dec. 14 shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

“I assure the families of the victims, especially those who lost a child, of my closeness in prayer,” he said. “May the God of consolation touch their hearts and ease their pain.”

Pope Benedict urged people to use the rest of Advent to dedicate themselves more “to prayer and to acts of peace.”

A front-page article Dec. 15 in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, said the people of the United States must look at ways to “stem the violence that strikes them from within, heinous violence that is increased by easy access to increasingly lethal weapons and this time struck children in an elementary school.

“The Newtown massacre is destined to reopen the debate about the free circulation of guns,” it said.

While many individuals and groups called for more stringent gun-control measures in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, “the National Rifle Association, on the other hand, entrenched itself behind an embarrassing silence,” the Vatican newspaper said.