POPE SENDS CONDOLENCES TO BERLIN AND ANKARA FOR THE “MURDEROUS FOLLY OF TERRORISM”
Pope Francis has sent two messages of condolences today, one for the cold-blooded murder at an art exhibit in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, of Russia’s ambassador to that nation, and a second one for the victims of an alleged terror attack in a Berlin Christmas market.
The first message was sent in the Pope’s name by the Holy See Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation.
“His Holiness Pope Francis,” starts the Message, “was saddened to learn of the violent attack in Ankara, which resulted in the death of Ambassador Andrei Karlov. His Holiness sends condolences to all who mourn his loss, and in a special way to the members of Ambassador Karlov’s family. In commending his soul to Almighty God, Pope Francis assures you and all the people of the Russian Federation of his prayers and spiritual solidarity at this time.”
The ambassador was shot several times in the back by a man in a suit who was believed to be an-off duty police officer. Video of the incident shows Mevlut Mert Altintas, 22, firing at least eight shots while shouting in Turkish: “Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria.” Special forces killed him shortly afterwards.
Pope Francis also sent a telegram of condolences to Archbishop Heiner Koch of Berlin, where the attacks occurred in an area dedicated to festive, traditional Christmas markets.
This message was also conveyed in the Holy Father’s name by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. The Pope said he is praying for the dead and injured in Monday’s attack on a Christmas market in Germany’s capital city, and that he joins “all men and women of good will” who have committed themselves to efforts “so that the murderous folly of terrorism finds no more room in our world.”
Twelve persons were killed and scores of others wounded in the attack which occurred when a truck came careening into the crowd in what the Pope called, “the terrible act of violence.”
Francis also mentioned gratitude to all the first responders, including security and medical personnel.
CARDINAL MARX CALLS FOR UNITY AFTER BERLIN ATTACKS
(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the President of both COMECE and the German Bishops’ Conference, expressed his compassion for the victims and called for unity after the December 19 act of violence against the Christmas market in Berlin:
“The news from Berlin deeply shocked me. The violence on the Christmas market is the opposite of what visitors were seeking. My compassion goes to the relatives of the dead and injured. For all of them I will pray.
“In these difficult hours for the city of Berlin and for our country, it is important for us to hold together and stand united as society.”
A WOMAN TO HEAD VATICAN MUSEUMS FOR THE FIRST TIME
Throughout his pontificate. Pope Francis has spoken of the importance of women in the Church, and the roles they can or should play. Today he made good on his words, at least in the realm of Vatican City State, and also made some history when he appointed Barbara Jatta as director of the Vatican Museums, effective January 1, 2017.
A brief biography published by the Vatican notes that she was born in Rome October 6, 1962 and previously held the position of vice-director of the Vatican Museums, appointed to that post in June 2016. She is married and has three children.
She received her Liberal Arts degree in Letters from the ‘Sapienza’ University in Rome in 1986, a Diploma in Archives at the Vatican School of Paleography the following year, and a specialization in Art History in 1991.
Her background includes teaching courses in the History of Graphic Art since 1994 at the University of Naples, and work in the Vatican Apostolic Library from 1996 until 2010.