VATICAN CITY, JAN. 9, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is thanking politicians who are committed to protecting and promoting religious liberty.
The Pope expressed his appreciation today during his traditional Angelus address. Gathered with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square was a group of some 200 Italian Parliamentarians, both of the majority and the opposition. They attended the midday Angelus, together with other politicians, in a show of support for the Orthodox Copts of Alexandria, victims of a Jan. 1 attack on a church that claimed the lives of 23.
The delegation released a statement calling for religious liberty, and exhorting national and international institutions to take concrete steps to combat anti-Christian sentiment.
“I greet the group of Italian Parliamentarians present here, and I thank them for their commitment, together with others of their peers, in favor of religious liberty,” the Pope said. “With them, I also greet the Coptic faithful here present and I renew to them my closeness.”
The day after the attack on the Coptic Christians of Alexandria, the Italian minister of foreign affairs, Franco Frattini, called for a political debate on anti-Christian violence and discrimination at the next EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting.