“I am profoundly saddened by the episodes of violence that were committed in Cairo last Sunday,” the Pope said at the end of today’s general audience.
Though today, the military blamed Christians for triggering the violence, original reports described the situation as a peaceful protest over the burning of a church, which turned bloody at the hands of police and military.
The Holy Father said, “I unite myself to the suffering of the families of the victims and to that of the entire Egyptian people, torn as it is by attempts to undermine the peaceful coexistence of its communities, [a coexistence] that instead it is necessary to safeguard, especially in this moment of transition.”
Christians, mostly Orthodox Copts, make up about 10% of Egypt’s population. Sunday’s violence was the biggest clash since the Egyptian president was ousted in February.
Benedict XVI called on Catholics to pray, that Egypt “might enjoy a true peace, founded upon justice, upon respect for the freedom and the dignity of every citizen.”
“Moreover,” he said, “I support the efforts of the Egyptian authorities, civil and religious, who promote a society in which the human rights of all are respected, and in particular of minorities, to the benefit of national unity.”