Vatican Official Assures Church's Closeness to Egypt Victims

ROME, OCT. 11, 2011 ( The prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches is assuring the victims of Sunday’s violence in Egypt that Catholics are united with them and standing in solidarity with the Orthodox Coptic Church.

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Cardinal Leonardo Sandri spoke with Vatican Radio on Monday about the situation in Egypt, when a peaceful protest turned deadly. Some two dozen people were killed.

The cardinal said that he and his collaborators met Monday to pray for the victims and, more generally, for the lack of religious liberty endured by Christians living in Egypt.

«Coptic Orthodox brothers who suffered a fire in one of their churches and who, like any citizen, wished to express their desire for religious liberty and respect for their rights, found instead that in this protest they had to offer the bitter chalice of death, of sacrifice,» he said.

The cardinal expressed his hopes that the «shadow of this violence to Orthodox Copts will not also cast a climate of precariousness on the life of the country and on religious minorities.»

The Coptic Catholic community, he added, is small but «truly committed to peace and understanding among all the currents that make up Egyptian society.»

Cardinal Sandri expressed the hope that the Arab Spring would really lead to the «peace sought by all, of democracy, of dialogue, of understanding, of respect for the dignity of the human person, especially respect for religious liberty and of respect for minorities.»

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