Pope: Attack on Egyptian Copts "Despicable"

Laments Violence That Targets Christians, Affects Whole Population

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The Jan. 1 bombing at the Coptic Church of the Saints in Alexandria that claimed the lives of 21 people leaving Mass is a «despicable act of death,» says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this last Sunday during his traditional address before and after the midday Angelus, which he prays with those who gather in St. Peter’s Square.

«This despicable act of death, like the current trend of setting bombs close to the homes of Christians in Iraq to force them to leave, offends God and the whole of humanity which, only yesterday was praying for peace and began a New Year with hope,» the Holy Father said.

The Pontiff assured his prayers «in the face of this strategy of violence that is targeting Christians with consequences on the entire population.»

He also encouraged «ecclesial communities to persevere in faith and in the witness of non-violence which comes to us from the Gospel.»

Investigators believe a suicide bomber carried out the attack, responsibility for which has thus far not been claimed. Though there have been shows of Muslim-Christian solidarity in the wake of the violence, tensions between the Christian minority and the Muslim majority are high.

The Pope’s reference to Iraq referred to a wave of 11 bomb attacks Dec. 30, which killed two Christians and wounded 16. That violence added to Iraqi Christian fear, particularly high after the Oct. 31 explosion at a Christian church in Baghdad, which claimed more than 50 lives.


Benedict XVI also remembered other Christians who died in 2010 during his Jan. 2 Angelus address.

He said: «I am also thinking of the numerous pastoral workers killed in 2010 in various parts of the world: We likewise address to them our affectionate remembrance before the Lord. Let us remain united in Christ, our hope and our peace!»

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-31371?l=english

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