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Basilica of Notre Dame in Nice, France Basilica of Notre Dame in Nice, France  (ANSA)

French bishops praying for victims of knife attack in Nice Basilica

At least three people were murdered in an horrific attack on Thursday at the Basilica of Notre Dame in Nice. French bishops express their pain and closeness to the victims.

By Vatican News staff writer

French media on Thursday morning reported that at least three people were killed and several others injured in a knife attack in the city of Nice.

According to sources, the attack began around 9: 00 am in the Basilica of Notre Dame – the largest Catholic church in Nice. Shortly after, Police swarmed the scene to secure the area and restore order.

The city’s mayor, Christian Estrosi described the incident as suggestive of “a terrorist attack” in a tweet. He also said that the suspect behind the attack had been arrested. 

Bishops pray for the victims

The president of the French Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims expressed his closeness to the victims of the attack in a tweet.

“…My very special prayers for the diocesan people of Nice and Bishop Marceau. May they know how to sustain themselves in this trial and support those who are tested in their flesh.”

Recalling the proximity of the solemnity of All Saints celebrated on 1 November, Archbishop Moulins-Beaufort added: “On Sunday, for All Saints, we will hear the Lord: Blessed are the peacemakers, they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who persecute you for my sake for your reward will be great in heaven.”

On his part, Bishop André Marceau of Nice expressed his sorrow on the tragic attack and the deaths of three people in a statement on Thursday.

“My sadness as a human being is infinite in the face of what other so-called human beings can do” he said.

Bishop Marceau noted that this latest attack comes a few weeks after Storm Alex and a few days after the murder of Samuel Paty.

He also announced that all churches in Nice are closed and placed under police protection till further notice.  

“All my prayers go out to the victims, their loved ones, the police on the front line of this tragedy, priests and the faithful who have been wounded in their faith and hope,”  Bishop Marceau added.

Previous attacks

This latest attack comes while France is still reeling from murder of a middle school teacher, Samuel Paty on 16 October for talking to students about cartoon depictions of Prophet Muhammad in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The city of Nice was also the location of another terror attack on 14 July 2016 when a 31-year-old man killed 86 people and injured many others after he drove a truck into a crowd of people who had gathered to celebrate Bastille Day. 

29 October 2020, 12:05