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» 01/02/2011
VATICAN-EGYPT-IRAQ
Pope: The attacks in Egypt and Iraq are an offense against God and humanity
Benedict expresses his sorrow for the killing of the Coptic faithful in Alexandria and bombs against the homes of Christians in Baghdad. A "strategy of violence that has targeted Christians." The Pope appeals to Christians for a non-violent response. A message for the Spanish Church gathered in Madrid for "The Christian family, hope for Europe."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – “An offense to God and humanity " is how Benedict XVI described the" serious attack against the Coptic Christian community in Alexandria and bombs against the homes of Christians in Iraq”.

Today, at the end of the Angelus, the pope said he had "learned with sorrow news" of the murder of 21 Coptic faithful and injuring of 70 others. The attack took place around midnight of December 31 when a car bomb [a suicide bomber according to the interior ministry] exploded  in front of the church of All Saints in the Egyptian city, slaughtering faithful who were leaving the church after mass.

"This cowardly act of death, - continued the Pope – like that of planting bombs close to the homes of Christians in Iraq to force them to leave, offends God and all humanity, who only yesterday prayed for peace and began the New Year with hope. "

The Pope speaks of a real "strategy of violence that has targeted Christians." In fact in Iraq, after the massacre in the Syrian Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad, groups linked to al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack and declared that Christians in the Middle East are a "legitimate target" because "they pollute " the Arab world. Since then, armed groups have killed Christians, by breaking into their homes or, as happened last December 30, by putting bombs in front of their homes.

This strategy, says Benedict XVI "has consequences for the whole population." In fact, the violence against Christians takes place in a climate of total insecurity and barbarism of coexistence.

"I pray for the victims and family members - said the pontiff - and encourage church communities to persevere in faith and witness to non-violence that comes from the Gospel." He also recalled the list of 23 pastoral workers killed in 2010 in various parts of the world (mostly in Latin America), compiled by the agency Fides. "Also to them - he added - goes our loving remembrance before the Lord. We remain united in Christ, our hope and our peace!. "

Previously, Benedict XVI recalled once again the mystery of Christmas, as told in today's Gospel, the prologue of St. John and thanked "those who have sent me messages of spiritual closeness."

Speaking in Spanish, Benedict XVI sent a message to the Spanish Church, gathered in the Plaza de Colon in Madrid to celebrate the value of marriage, in a meeting with the theme "The Christian family hope for Europe."


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See also
02/07/2004 Egypt - Vatican
We Christians are smothered by Islam and the West
by Giuseppe Caffulli
11/01/2010 IRAQ-EGYPT
Al Qaeda claims responsibility for Baghdad attacks, threats to the Copts
07/08/2005 VATICAN - IRAQ – EGYPT
Pope pained by heinous killing of Egypt's Ambassador to Iraq
11/02/2010 IRAQ-EGYPT
Cairo rejects Al Qaeda ultimatum and denies "conversion" of the two women
12/09/2004 IRAQ
Bearing witness to Christ at the peril of one's life, says Father Ragheed in Mosul
by Lorenzo Fazzini

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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