Monday, November 01, 2010

"This Absurd, Savage Violence"

With almost 40 of the over 100 hostages taken during last night's Mass at Baghdad's Syrian-Catholic cathedral now reported to have been killed in the attack, at today's Angelus for All Saints Day, the Pope made the following appeal, translated here from the original Italian:
Last evening, in a grave attack on the Syriac-Catholic cathedral of Baghdad, there were scores of deaths and injuries, among them two priests and a group of the faithful there for Sunday's Holy Mass. I pray for the victims of this absurd violence, even more ferocious in that it has been inflicted upon defenseless people gathered in God's house, which is a house of love and reconciliation. I express my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, now stricken again, and I encourage its pastors and faithful alike to be strong and firm in hope. Beyond these savage moments of violence, that continue to tear apart the peoples of the Middle East, I would lastly like to renew a heartfelt appeal for peace: it is a gift of God, but it is also the result of the efforts of men of good will, of national and international institutions. May everyone unite their strengths to end every act of violence!
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In comments to Vatican Radio, an unnamed source in Iraq's Catholic leadership said that the siege "represents a new and terrifying change in strategy by terrorists... it means all Christian parishes in Iraq are [now] in danger," and Baghdad Latin auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni said that the country's already-embattled "Christian community no longer feel safe, not even in the House of God.

"[T]his attack will have a very negative influence on those who until now had chosen to remain in Baghdad," Warduni added, "with many saying they are ready to leaveā€.

In the tragedy's wake, the leaders of the country's Eastern and Western Catholic churches gathered at the hub of the capital's almost 9,000-member Syriac community.

AP(1); Getty(2)