11/01/2010, 00.00
VATICAN

Pope: more Christian blood shed in the Middle East, the need for peace

At the Angelus, Benedict XVI speaks of the massacre which took place yesterday evening in Baghdad. His closeness to the community targeted once again, an invitation to be strong and firm in hope, appeal to the international community for peace, a gift from God, but also the result of the actions of men.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Renewed violence against the Christian community in the Middle East, with the attack by al Qaeda terrorists against the Syrian Catholic cathedral in Baghdad, prompted the Pope today to express empathy with those affected and launch a new appeal to the international community to really work for peace in the troubled region.

"Last night - said Benedict XVI after the Angelus prayer - in a very serious attack on the Syrian Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad, dozens of people were killed and wounded, including two priests and a group of faithful gathered for Sunday Mass . I pray - he continued - for the victims of this senseless violence, all the more ferocious as it has affected unarmed citizens, gathered in the house of God, which is the home of love and reconciliation”.

The Pope expressed his "affectionate closeness to the Christian community, struck yet again, and I encourage all the pastors and the faithful to be strong and firm in hope. Faced with such episodes of  brutal violence that continue to afflict the population of the Middle East – he said -I would like to renew my heartfelt appeal for peace. It - he concluded - is a gift from God, but also the result of the efforts men of good will, of national and international institutions. We must all join forces to put an end to all forms of violence”.

Before the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI said that today's feast of All Saints' invites us to lift our eyes to heaven and to meditate on the divine life that awaits us. We are children of God, but what awaits us has not yet been revealed”.

"However the Lord - he added - gives us the grace to withstand the trials of this earthly life, the injustices, misunderstandings, persecutions." "Tomorrow – he continued – we commemorate all the faithful departed: the liturgy and the devotion of visiting cemeteries remind us that Christian death is part of the process of assimilation to God". "Separation from our loved ones - he concluded - is painful, but we should not fear it, it can not break the deep bond that unites us in Christ".

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