Holy See horror at Toulouse school shooting

2012-03-19 Vatican Radio

The Church is united in prayer with the suffering of the Jewish community in France following the Monday morning school shooting in the southern city of Toulouse in which three children and a teacher were killed.

Vatican Press Office Director, Fr. Federico Lombardi, described the act which saw an unknown gunman open fire at the Ozar Hatorah school before fleeing on a scooter as “ignoble and shameful”.

Fr. Lombardi continued that the hurt provoked by the shooting adds “to other recent acts of absurd violence that have hurt France”. Three soldiers were killed in similar circumstances in other parts of France in the past weeks.

Monday's attack, said Fr. Lombardi, “arouses deep indignation and bewilderment and the most resolute condemnation”, particularly given “the age and the innocence of the young victims, and because it happened in a peaceful Jewish educational institution”.

Fr. Lombardi expressed deep condolences to the “bereaved families and Jewish community, our concern for this horrible deed, and our deepest spiritual solidarity”.

The Archbishop of Toulouse, Robert Le Gall, has also issued a statement expressing “profound sympathy” : “After the assassination of paratroopers in recent days in Toulouse and Montauban, which has deeply affected our region, a further horrific act took place this morning with the murder of four people including three children at the Jewish college Ozar Hatorah in-the Rose Garden neighborhood, in Toulouse. Cardinal Vingt-Trois is currently in New York with a delegation of bishops for three days of meetings with our Jewish brothers and sisters. We express our profound sympathy to families affected by this horror and ensure our prayers”.

The French President travelled to the site of this morning’s shooting, declaring it "a national tragedy," and promised that "everything will be done to find" the killer.

The Church of France is organizing a prayer service after these tragedies. Vespers will be held tonight at 5:45 p.m. in the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris.

Fear has spread beyond the borders of France. Israel has expressed its "horror" at the atrocity and has called on Paris "to shed light on this tragedy and bring the perpetrators of these murders to justice." The European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, in turn condemned the shooting denouncing it as "a heinous crime".