Thousands of mourners flocked to Catania cathedral yesterday for the funeral of a 38 year-old policeman whose death in a soccer riot has shocked Italy and prompted calls for new measures to curb stadium violence. Archbishop Gristina presided over the service. In a message Pope Benedict said: "Informed of the tragic killing of Chief Inspector Filippo Raciti, the Supreme Pontiff expresses his spiritual closeness to the wife and children of the victim, as well as to the injured and the police who, with other law enforcement forces, work to safeguard the security of citizens. "In reiterating his firm condemnation of all forms of violence that disfigure the world of football, the Holy Father exhorts its protagonists to promote respect for legality with greater determination, favouring loyalty, solidarity and healthy competitiveness. In this hope, His Holiness raises fervent prayers for the soul of the faithful servant of the State and, while invoking heavenly consolation upon the relatives and colleagues and all those stricken by such dramatic loss, he sends a comforting apostolic blessing, which may also be extended to those present at the funeral rites." Source: VIS
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