Pope Francis called on the people of the US to reject violence and promote national reconciliation, condemning the dramatic assault on the US Congress during his Sunday Angelus.

Francis extended his “loving greeting” to all US citizens who are “shaken by the recent siege at the Congress,” and said he is praying for the five people who lost their lives “in those dramatic moments.”

The pontiff spoke just a few days after President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol Hill in Washington DC and clashed with police, as Congress met to validate Joe Biden’s presidential win against Trump.

“Reject violence. It’s time for healing,” the pope said. “I reiterate that violence is always self-destructive. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost.”

He then urged US 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.”

In a separate TV interview with Italian news channel Canale 5 – which will be aired on Sunday evening – Pope Francis said he was “astonished” by the Congress attack, especially because the US people are “so disciplined in democracy.”

But he also noted that even in the most “mature” societies, there are violent minorities who act against democracy and the common good.

“But thank God this erupted and people could see it well. That way it can be remedied,” he said, stressing that “we must always learn from history.”

During the interview, the pope also spoke of the choice of being vaccinated against COVID-19, an option that he described as “ethical,” since it also involves other people’s lives.

Francis said he had already signed up to be vaccinated as the Vatican kicks off its vaccination campaign starting from Jan. 11.

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.