2010-11-01 15:59:02

Pope condemns "ferocious" attack on Baghdad church

(November 1, 2010) Pope Benedict XVI on Monday condemned an attack in which 52 people were killed in a Catholic church in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Sunday saying the violence was all the more ferocious because innocent people were killed in a house of God. After reciting the midday ‘Angelus’ prayer with pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square on the occasion of All Saints' Day, the Pope also made a heartfelt appeal for peace in the Middle East. “I pray for the victims of this senseless violence, made even more ferocious because it struck defenceless people who were gathered in the house of God, which is a house of love and reconciliation," he said. Fifty-two hostages and police officers were killed when security forces raided a Baghdad church to free more than 100 Iraqi Catholics captured by Al Qaeda-linked gunmen. The gunmen took hostages gathered for Sunday mass at the Our Lady of Salvation Church, one of Baghdad's largest, and demanded the release of al Qaeda prisoners in Iraq and Egypt. The pope urged the international community to work for comprehensive peace in the Middle East. "May everyone join forces to put an end to violence," he said.
Prior to the ‘Angelus’ the Pope reflected on All Souls Day, recalling the example of all those who now live for ever in the presence of God. He said the feast is an invitation to raise our eyes to heaven and contemplate on the fullness of life that awaits us. Speaking about the Nov. 2nd All Souls Day on Tuesday, the Holy Father urged all to pray for the eternal repose of all the faithful departed. He admitted that separation from earthly ties is certainly painful, but we must not fear it because such a separation accompanied by the prayers of the Church for the departed strengthens our ties with our loved ones in Christ.

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