Pope Francis prays for Syria terror victims, asks God to ‘convert hearts’ of ISIS jihadists
While speaking during his weekly audience in Saint Peter’s Square on Wednesday Pope Francis asked God to “convert the hearts of those who sow death and destruction.” He also prayed for “eternal rest to the victims” and “consolation to their relatives.” He strongly condemned the fact that most victims were innocent civilians and voiced grief over the deaths of eight children.
“It is the duty of everyone to protect children, most of all those exposed to a high risk of exploitation, trafficking and deviant behaviors,” the Pope said according to Catholic Herald. He went on to say that although “prayer is not a magic wand”, it is “our daily bread, our powerful weapon and the staff for our journey.”
This is not the first time the pontiff has asked for God’s compassion regarding the perpetrators of terror attacks.
In 2015 he prayed for the culprits of the Charlie Hebdo shooting, when two gunmen opened fire at the satirical newspaper’s office in Paris killing 12 people including the magazine’s editor.
“We pray, in this Mass, for the victims of this cruelty – so many of them – and we pray also for the perpetrators of such cruelty, that the Lord might change their heart,” he said.
On Monday a series of seven deadly coordinated blasts targeted Syrian cities of Tartus and Jableh killing over 150 people including children. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks that hit purely civilian sites including bus and railway stations and a hospital.