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Pope condemns massacre of Copts in Cairo

By on Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The Pope arrives in St Peter's Square (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The Pope arrives in St Peter's Square (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Benedict XVI has condemned the attack on unarmed Christians in Egypt, saying that during the transition to democracy all of the country’s citizens and institutions must work to guarantee the rights of minorities.

At the end of his weekly general audience, Pope Benedict said he was “profoundly saddened” by the deaths of at least 26 people, mostly Christians, after peaceful protesters were attacked by gangs, and then a speeding military vehicle ran into them and officers fired on the crowd. Hundreds of people were injured.

The Pope said that Egypt, which has been moving to a democracy since the February ousting of President Hosni Mubarak, has been “lacerated by attempts to undermine peaceful coexistence among its communities”.

Safeguarding harmony and co-operation is essential for a future of true democracy, he said.

The Pope asked Catholics to pray that Egypt would “enjoy true peace based on justice and respect for the freedom and dignity of every citizen”.

“In addition, I support the efforts of Egyptian civil and religious authorities in favour of a society in which the human rights of all – especially minorities – are respected to the benefit of national unity,” the Pope said.

Christians make up about 10 per cent of Egypt’s population. Ninety per cent of its 82 million inhabitants are Muslim.

Comboni Fr Luciano Verdoscia, a missionary in Egypt, said that over the past 40 years successive governments have exploited differences between Christians and Muslims in the country, and tensions were increased by money and influence from Islamic groups outside the country.

But Fr Verdoscia said western countries also shared some of the blame. “I fear that western governments are interested in preserving their economic interests at the expense of individual rights. They do not have the ethical strength to denounce discrimination against minorities in Middle Eastern countries,” he told Fides, the Vatican’s missionary news agency.

Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Catholic Church in Egypt, told Vatican Radio a lack of government activity was partly to blame for the rise in violence.

“It all stems from the government’s failure to enact a law that regulates the building of places of worship, be they churches or mosques, which they promised to do months ago,” Fr Greiche said. The Christian protesters had been rallying to call for an end to attempts to burn down churches that some critics say are being built illegally.

Fr Greiche said: “At the time of the old regime of Mubarak, there were also churches being burned and it was the security forces that always used to take care of us. Now even the government does not give a damn about what is happening.”

In his main audience talk to about 14,000 people in St Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict spoke about the joy and gratitude reflected in Psalm 126 and how Christians have an obligation to recognise the gifts God has given them and to offer thanks.

“In our prayer we must look more often at how, in the events of our lives, the Lord has protected us, guided us and helped us and we must praise him for what he has done and still does for us. We must be more attentive to the good things the Lord does; we always notice the problems and difficulties – it’s almost like we don’t want to see there are good things that come from the Lord,” the Pope said.

  • ms Catholic state

    It is up to the Pope (and Christians) now to work for the safety and freedom of Christians world wide.  No other world statesmen or national or international body seem particularly interested.  Indeed you could almost say….why would they?!.  Even in the West….our secular leaders are clamping down on Christian freedoms in their own nations.  

    All Christians and those of goodwill must now support the Pope.  He is our true leader.

  • Anonymous

    The Holy Father is one of the few voices that speak up when these persecutions against Christians are perpetrated.  Don’t look to the US or Europe to attempt to intervene.  Most of their leaders are secular and anti-Christian.  Viva the martyrs for the Coptic faith.  Long live Christ the King!

  • Wolfgang Munster Schnoozle

    Like it or not,all other Christian denominitions will not recognise the Roman church claim as leader, at all.
    If unity amongst Christians is really what  the Roman Catholic Church seeks, then it will bring to an end its preposperous claims for leadership of such that is a constant act of division.

    The Orthodox Catholic Church is able to lay a more substantiated claim as leaders of the Christianity but even they do not claim such a role respecting holy scripture above the desires of this world.

    Long live the Christian chuch that Jesus places into the care of the holy spirit!

  • ms Catholic state

    The Church can never deny its uniqueness, authority or supremacy.  To do that would be to lie.  In fact….all other Churches broke away from the Catholic Church….and now they want the Church say it is just one among equals.  But it never will say that.

    However….the secular world seems to consider the Pope leader of all Christians….and in this capacity the Pope can do great things for all Christians and Christianity throughout the world.  We should never have to rely on secular bodies…..though that does not mean to refuse their help either.

  • Fr Thomas Poovathinkal

    The Pope asked Catholics to pray that Egypt would “enjoy true peace
    based on justice and respect for the freedom and dignity of every
    citizen”.

    THE WORTH OF A TRUE CHRISTIAN IS TO FOLLOW AND OBEY JESUS, WHO FORGAVE HIS ENEMIES

    AND PRAYED FOR THEM, BECAUSE HE LOVED THEM TOO AND WANTS TO SAVE ALL MANKIND.

    WHEN THIS IS DONE JESUS WILL ACT ON BEHALF OF US. THE ENEMIES WILL BE WON OVER BY THE

    LORD. AND THEY WILL BECOME OUR FRIENDS. THIS IS THE LORD’S WORK.
     

    CHRISTIANS WHO DO NOT GIVE FOUNDATIONAL IMPORTANCE TO THE WORD -  IT IS JESUS THE SON

    OF GOD HIMSELF -  CANNOT IN FACT BELONG TO HIM AND SO DO NOT OBEY HIM.

    THESE LIVE ONLY LIVES OF SELF-DECEPTION  OCCUPIED WITH DEAD RITUALS, DOGMAS AND

    DRAMAS!

    THE PRIMARY CAUSE OF ALL THESE ARE LEADERS WHO NOT EXERCISE APOSTLESHIP

    BECAUSE THEY NOT HAVE THE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF JESUS – HIS GREATEST GIFT TO THOSE WHO

    BELONG TO HIM.

    Fr Thomas Poovathinkal

  • http://twitter.com/PJTPOOAM Thomas Poovathinkal

    Cath. Her. : Pope condemns massacre of Copts in Cairo

    By Cindy Wooden on Wednesday, 12 October
    2011

    THE WORTH OF A TRUE CHRISTIAN IS TO FOLLOW AND OBEY JESUS, WHO FORGAVE HIS
    ENEMIES

    AND PRAYED FOR THEM, BECAUSE HE LOVED THEM TOO AND WANTS TO SAVE ALL.

    WHEN THIS IS DONE JESUS WILL ACT ON BEHALF OF US. THE ENEMIES WILL BE WON OVER
    BY THE

    LORD. AND THEY WILL BECOME OUR FRIENDS. THIS IS THE LORD’S WORK.
     

    CHRISTIANS WHO DO NOT GIVE FOUNDATIONAL IMPORTANCE TO THE WORD -  IT IS
    JESUS THE SON

    OF GOD HIMSELF -  CANNOT IN FACT BELONG TO HIM AND SO DO NOT OBEY HIM.

    THESE LIVE ONLY LIVES OF SELF-DECEPTION  OCCUPIED WITH DEAD RITUALS,
    DOGMAS AND

    DRAMAS!

    THE PRIMARY CAUSE OF ALL THESE ARE LEADERS WHO NOT EXERCISE APOSTLESHIP

    BECAUSE THEY NOT HAVE THE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF JESUS – HIS GREATEST GIFT TO THOSE
    WHO

    BELONG TO HIM.

    Fr Thomas Poovathinkal

  • Tommy

    You talk about the Pope doing great things for the world.  I have seen nothing in 50 years of anything substantial that he has done but talk.  He did honor Hitler’s role in world events–not good.  He did not honor the Jews during the Holocaust or in any way offer them asylum.  What good has he done?