Before the General Audience this morning, Pope Francis received in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall members of the Yazidi community from Germany. Below is a Zenit working translation of the Pontiff’s words below:
***[Pope’s words before the audience:]
I greet you fraternally and I thank you for this meeting, through which I embrace all the members of the Yazidi community, especially those living in Iraq and Syria. My solidarity and prayers go to the innocent victims of senseless and inhuman barbarism. It is unacceptable that human beings be persecuted and killed because of their religious affiliation! Every person has the right to freely profess his religious beliefs without constraints.
Your history, rich in spirituality and culture, has unfortunately been marked by unspeakable violations of the fundamental rights of the human person: abductions, slavery, torture, forced conversions, killings. Your sanctuaries and places of worship have been destroyed. The most fortunate among you have been able to escape, but leaving everything they had, even their dearest and most sacred things. In many parts of the world, there are still religious and ethnic minorities, including Christians, persecuted because of faith. The Holy See does not tire of intervening to denounce these situations, demanding recognition, protection and respect. At the same time, it exhorts dialogue and reconciliation to heal every wound.
May God help us to build together a world where we can live in peace and brotherhood.