Benedict XVI Condemns Crime of Kidnapping

Makes Appeal for Captive Businessman in Sardinia

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 29, 2006 ( Benedict XVI condemned the crime of kidnapping in the world and expressed his closeness to its victims.

The Pope did so today in his first greeting, in Italian, after praying the midday Angelus with the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

“From many parts of the world I receive petitions for persons who, in different countries of the world, are victims of kidnapping,” said the Holy Father.

“While I underline the most firm condemnation of this crime, I assure my remembrance in prayer for all the victims and their relatives and friends,” he added.

The Pontiff added his voice expressly to the appeal made recently by the archbishop and community of Sassari, on the island of Sardinia, “for Mr. Giovanni Battista Pinna, kidnapped last September 14, so that he will soon be returned to his loved ones.”

Pinna, 37, is a stockbreeder from Bonorva.

Archbishop Paolo Atzei of Sassari expressed on Vatican Radio the “immense gratitude” with which the local community received the Pope’s appeal. He said the national press has given little attention to the case.

“When I presented [a] letter in the Secretariat of State, I asked that the Holy Father give voice to this small community of our diocese,” explained the prelate.

Archbishop Atzei, 64, expressed a “truly filial, profound, fraternal gratitude to the Holy Father,” because he took up this “anguished appeal.”

Shortly after the kidnapping, a telephone call by Giovanni Battista Pinna himself informed about the €300,000 ($380,000) ransom demanded by the kidnappers. It marked the fourth time since 1967 that a member of the Pinna family had been kidnapped.

Archbishop Atzei said he visited the family of the hostage as soon as he could.

He told Vatican Radio: “I was impressed, on one hand, by the family’s dignified attitude, and on the other, by the precarious situation of this family: the mother in a wheelchair; the father must now carry forward alone this livestock enterprise, with the help of a son; the two sisters are also in dismay.”

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