Pope Francis on Sunday called on Americans to show their “sense of responsibility” and support for democratic values as he lamented the midweek storming of the Capitol in Washington.
Among five deaths during the incident was a US Capitol police officer who died of injuries sustained during clashes with a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters who overran a session of Congress.
“I urge the State authorities and the entire population to maintain a high sense of responsibility in order to soothe tempers, promote national reconciliation, and protect the democratic values rooted in American society,” the pontiff said during Sunday prayers broadcast from the Vatican.
Francis said he was sending a “loving greeting” to the US people “shaken by the recent assault on Congress” and said he was praying in memory of the five people killed “in those dramatic moments”.
“I reiterate that violence is always self-destructive — nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost,” the Argentinian pope concluded in his Angelus prayer.
Earlier, in an interview with Italian broadcaster Canale 5, the pontiff had said he was “amazed” by Wednesday’s assault on Congress.
Pope Francis made his comments with Trump facing a potential second impeachment attempt as he enters the final days of his presidency after losing November’s presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden.
The article of impeachment charges that Trump committed a criminal act by “willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States” by repeatedly insisting he had defeated Biden.
He also addressed supporters and told them the election outcome was “an egregious assault on our democracy,” and urged them to “walk down to the Capitol” to show their displeasure at the result.