Pope phones murdered US journalist’s parents

Pope Francis has personally consoled the family of James Foley, the US journalist beheaded by Islamist militants in Iraq.

Last week, Mr Foley’s parents John and Diane Foley told media of their gratitude for the Pope’s concern, expressed during a long phone call on August 21.

“Pope Francis was so dear because he is grieving himself, having just lost three members of his family and (with) his nephew critically ill,” Mrs Foley said on NBC’s “Today” show.

“Here in the midst of his tremendous grief, he took the time to call.

“Our whole family was there, one of our beloved priest friends . . . was there, my brother-in-law spoke in Spanish to him. He was just so kind.”

The wife and two young children of the Pope’s nephew, 35-year-old Emanuel Horacio Bergoglio, were killed in a car crash on August 19 in Argentina.

Bergoglio was critically injured.

John Foley said on the “Today” show that “we felt very comforted and supported” that the Pope offered his personal prayer.

On August 21, Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi told the press that Pope Francis called to console the family for their loss and assure them of his prayers.

Passionist Fr Ciro Benedettini, assistant director of the Vatican press office, told reporters the next day that the conversation was “long and intense”.

Pope Francis was particularly “struck by the faith” of the late journalist’s mother, the spokesman said.

The Pope spoke with the parents through an interpreter.

“Pope Francis, like Jesus, loves, like Jim. He understood Jim’s heart,” Diane Foley said afterwards, referring to her son, who “was able to draw strength from prayer” during his capture.

She said love and compassion had drawn her son to cover the plight of the people in Syria, which has been embroiled in a violent conflict for the past several years.

The Foleys also said they were establishing a fund in their son’s name and said they would continue to call for action from the international community.

“We must stand together,” Diane Foley said.

“Good and love and all that is free in the world must be together to fight the evil and the hatred.”


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