Pope condemns spate of U.S. gun violence, prays for victims


Mourners taking part in a vigil at El Paso High School after a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, U.S. August 3, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Sunday condemned attacks on “defenseless people” in a spate of gun violence in three American states, including one that killed 20 people in a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas.

Speaking to thousands of pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter’s Square for his Sunday message and blessing, Francis said he was spiritually close to the victims, the wounded and the families affected by attacks he said had “bloodied Texas, California and Ohio”.

Francis said all three attacks targeted “defenseless people”.

He mentioned the Texas shooting as well as another last week at a food festival in California where three people were killed, and a third in Dayton, Ohio, where 10 people were killed early on Sunday..

Francis, who has in the past criticized the gun manufacturing industry, then led the crowd in reciting a Hail Mary for the victims.

(The story refiles to correct media identifier.)

Reporting By Philip Pullella. Editing by Jane Merriman

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