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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
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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