Pope 'shares pain' of Nice attack victims, families

Story highlights

  • Pope Francis offers his prayers and compassion for those affected by July 14 attack
  • Survivors and families of the victims meet with Francis in Rome

(CNN)Pope Francis told survivors and the relatives of those killed and injured in the Bastille Day terror attack in Nice, France, that he shared their pain as he met with them Saturday in Rome.

More than 80 people died when Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel plowed a 20-ton truck into crowds on the Promenade des Anglais seafront in Nice during a fireworks celebration on France's key national holiday.
    Ten children were among the victims of the ISIS-inspired attack. More than 200 people were injured.
    "I wish to share in your pain, a pain that is even greater when I think of the children, or indeed entire families, whose life was taken from them suddenly and so dramatically," Francis said.
    "I assure each one of you of my compassion, my closeness and my prayer."
    The Pope also prayed for all those who were injured July 14, including ones who were "appallingly maimed, in flesh and spirit," and some who were still in the hospital and unable to make the journey to Rome.
    Francis called on political and religious leaders to foster dialogue, saying that where there is a temptation "to respond to hatred with hatred or violence with violence," a change of heart is needed.
    "It is possible to respond to assaults by the devil only with the works of God, which are forgiveness, love and respect for our neighbor, even if he or she is different," he said.
    France has been under a state of emergency since the Paris terror attacks in November, and authorities have struggled to monitor thousands of domestic radicals on their radar.
    Less than two weeks ago, French authorities thwarted what they said was an ISIS plot to attack the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.