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    » 02/25/2010, 00.00

    IRAQ - VATICAN

    During Lenten retreat, Pope prays for Iraqi Christians and peace in the country



    Benedict XVI is closely following the situation in Iraq and the escalation of violence against the Christian community. He expresses "deep sorrow" and is near to all who suffer "through prayer and affection." A letter from the Secretary of State Card. Bertone to Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki made public.

    Baghdad (AsiaNews) - Even during his Lenten retreat, the pope is closely following the violence against Christians in Mosul and praying for peace in Iraq. In the current issue of  Osservatore Romano an article reports that Benedict XVI has learned with profound sorrow "of the escalation of attacks in the city of Mosul and the continued targeted killings of the faithful. The Pope - continues the note - is "close to those who suffer" the consequences of violence "with prayer and affection."    

    On the massacre of Iraqi Christians, on January 2 last – but only made public today – Vatican secretary of State Card. Tarcisio Bertone wrote a letter to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, stressing the urgency for dialogue and cooperation between ethnic and religious groups".  Recalling a meeting at the Vatican in 2008 between Benedict XVI and al-Maliki, the cardinal's call recalled the shared appeal for the "moral and civil reconstruction" of the country, while respecting the identity and spirit of reconciliation.  

    In his letter, card. Bertone reiterated the Pope's exhortation for "respect in Iraq for the right to freedom of worship and the protection of Christians and their churches”. The Secretary of State - on the advice of Benedict XVI - finally expressed "sincere solidarity to the Iraqi prime minister and" to those who were killed wounded" in the attacks "on government buildings and places of worship in Iraq, both Muslim and Christian. "

     

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    See also

    25/07/2008 VATICAN – IRAQ
    Pope receives al-Maliki, both hope dialogue will prevail over terrorism and violence
    Iraq’s prime minister invites Benedict XVI to visit the country. During the talks the two leaders discussed the fate of refugees and religious minorities. They also examined the situation of the Middle East, expressing hope that a spirit of reconciliation will prevail.

    11/06/2007 IRAQ
    Kirkuk: Muslims and Christians united for dialogue, only way to save Iraq
    Sunnis and Shiites, tribal leaders, Kurds, Turkmen and Christians meet at luncheon organised by the city Chaldean archdiocese to fight those who would like to destroy peaceful coexistence between religions. Prime Minister al-Maliki’s spokesman says the government is opposed to the Nineveh Plains plan and the country’s division in ghettoes. Ayatollah al-Sistani receives Christian leaders and expressed his solidarity towards them.

    11/12/2008 VATICAN-UN
    Pope: promote human rights everywhere, founded, in the end, in God creator
    During celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Benedict XVI reveals “the right to life, freedom and security of hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters are still under threat”. Card. Bertone speaks of religious freedom as an inviolable space where each individual and the entire community are free to act, without outside pressures from persons, social groups or authorities, whoever they may be.

    02/04/2006 IRAQ - VATICAN
    Two days of prayer and fasting for peace and harmony in Iraq

    Benedict XVI makes his own an appeal by the Iraqi bishops



    05/05/2008 VIETNAM – VATICAN
    Hanoi waiting for Vatican delegation in the “near future”
    Diplomatic relations would benefit both Vietnam, which is opening up to the world, and the Holy See, which could address issues like religious freedom and fundamental human rights.



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