VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI expressed his condolences for the attack on Christian university students in Iraq over the weekend in a telegram sent to Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa of Mosul.
The telegram, which was signed by the Pope’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, stated that the Holy Father was “profoundly saddened by the tragic loss of life and for the injuries” that were caused by the Sunday bombing, reported Vatican Radio.
Fides news agency reported today that two bombs hit three buses filled with Christian students en route to the University of Mosul. The blasts left at least one passenger dead, and some 120 injured. Three students are in serious condition, and one student is in a coma.
The bus convoy was carrying students from the mainly Christian town of Qaraqosh to classes at the University of Mosul.
Benedict XVI assured his “spiritual closeness to the Christian communities of Iraq” and renewed his “appeal to all men and women of good will to remain firm in the ways of peace and to reject all the acts of violence that have caused so much suffering.”
In a statement to Fides, Syrian Catholic Archbishop Georges Casmoussa of Mosul called for “U.N. intervention to protect Christians in Iraq.”
“We intend to make this request,” he added. “If the civil and military authorities are unable to protect us, we must turn to an international institution.”
“For many months now, every week, indeed every day, we see attacks of varying gravity on Christians,” the archbishop continued. “The Christian community lives in fear. We are exhausted from continual violence, terror and insecurity. If this situation continues we can no longer live in this land, our beloved homeland.
“We suffer such injustice amidst general indifference. We want to see concerted efforts, clear and effective measures to restore peace and security to the Christian minority in Iraq. We thank all those who have expressed solidarity and we hope to build a better future if Iraqi Christians are allowed to remain in the land and contribute towards building the common good.”