01/02/2011, 00.00
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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