Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Copts killed in Libya "were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians". Their testimony "cries out to be heard;" theirs is "the ecumenism of blood" that calls for movement forward on the path of unity, said Pope Francis as he expressed "feelings of profound sorrow" for the news that Egyptian Copts were killed by ISIS terrorists in Libya.
The Holy Father spoke about the killings during his meeting with John P. Chalmers, moderator of the Church of Scotland, and several representatives of the Church.
"I would now like to turn to my native tongue to express feelings of profound sorrow," the pontiff said during his address. "Today, I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians. Their only words were: 'Jesus, help me!'"
"They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians. You, my brother, in your words referred to what is happening in the land of Jesus. The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same."
"Their blood confesses Christ. As we recall these brothers and sisters who died only because they confessed Christ, I ask that we encourage each another to go forward with this ecumenism which is giving us strength, the ecumenism of blood. The martyrs belong to all Christians."
After noting the good state of relations between the two Churches, Francis went to talk about the need for common witness. "In our globalized and often confused world," the pope said, "a common Christian witness is a necessary requisite for the effectiveness of our efforts to evangelize."
In fact, "We are pilgrims and we journey alongside one another. We need to learn to have 'sincere trust in our fellow pilgrims, putting aside all suspicion or mistrust, and turn our gaze to what we are all seeking: the radiant peace of God's face' (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 244)."
Finally, "Faith and Christian witness are presently confronted by such great challenges that only by working together will we be able effectively to serve the human family and enable the light of Christ to reach every dark corner of our hearts and of our world. May the journey of reconciliation and peace between our communities continue to draw us closer, so that, prompted by the Holy Spirit, we may bring life to all, and bring it in abundance."