Nice terror attack – basilica ‘cleansed.’ Arrests made

Nice terror attack

French bishops conducted a “penitential rite of reparation” in a church where three people were murdered in a second significant Nice terror attack.

The mass was celebrated in Notre Dame Basilica on Nov. 1 by Nice Bishop André Marceau. He was joined by Archbishop Jean-Marc Aveline of Marseille and Archbishop Dominique-Marie David of Monaco.

The rite was necessary to purify the church from the stain of a “gravely injurious act.”

The ritual was required before normal religious activities could resume, according to a statement on the website of the Diocese of Nice.

Amid high security, the bishops, joined by priests of the diocese, wore penitential purple for the evening event.

The rite began when the church, with its altar stripped and bare, was plunged into darkness.

The interior of the church was then blessed with holy water before the lights were turned on again. The bishops had changed their vestments to white to signify the Resurrection.

Bishop Marceau condemned the violence that had desecrated the basilica.

“The stones cannot cry out their horror,” he said. “The abomination of the terrorist act marred the destination and vocation of this place.

Photographs of the three victims were displayed in the church. The faithful were encouraged to light candles for them.

Vincent Loquès, 55, the sacristan, died inside the church along with Nadine Devillers, 60.

Brazilian-born Simone Barreto Silva, 44, died in a nearby cafe after fleeing with stab wounds. Her last words were reported to be, “Tell my children I love them.”

The alleged offender, Brahim Aoussaoui, 21, had entered France after arriving on a migrant boat to Italy in September. He was arrested at the scene and is in a critical condition in hospital from multiple gunshot wounds.

Five others, ages 25-63, have since been arrested in Nice and nearby Grasse in connection with the killings.

They are suspected of assisting Aoussaoui after he was dispatched to France to carry out the attack, according to the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

The is the second significant Nice terror attack. In 2016 a truck was driven through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day. The attack resulted in the deaths of 86 people and injury to 458 others.

In another attack at a French church on Oct. 31, a Greek Orthodox priest was shot and badly injured in the French city of Lyon. No motive for the shooting has been discovered.


The Tablet


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