Saturday, January 1, 2011

Pope rallies Christians not to despair in face of recent attacks

By the CNN Wire Staff J
anuary 1, 2011 11:06 a.m. EST

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the New Year solemn Mass at
Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Saturday.
(CNN) -- Pope Benedict XVI spoke out Saturday against a recent wave of religious attacks against Christians and rallied worshippers not to "cave into depression and resignation," hours after a bomb explosion outside a church in Egypt killed 21 people.
During his New Year's Day homily titled, "Religious Freedom, the road to peace," Benedict asked followers and governments to join efforts in combating religious persecution.
"Mankind cannot resign himself to the negative forces of egoism and violence," the pontiff said, adding that governments must show a willingness to combat violence.
"For this difficult task, words are not enough, there must be a concrete and constant effort from leaders of nations," he said.
"Above all, it is necessary that each person is driven by the authentic spirit of peace, always imploring over and again in prayer," he said.

Saturday's bombing targeted Coptic Christians in the city of Alexandria. FULL STORY
The attack follows other recent attacks in Iraq and Nigeria.
"In front of the current threatening tensions, in front of specially the discrimination tyranny and religious intolerance, that today hit in particular the Christians, once again I deliver the pressing invite to not cave into the depression and resignation," Benedict said.
In November, a group with ties to al Qaeda in Iraq announced that all Christians in the Middle East would be "legitimate targets."
Some Christians in Iraq's capital say they are considering leaving their homes following a wave of bombings in December that targeted members of their religion. Two people were killed and 16 others wounded in the blasts.
The bloodiest attack on Christians in Iraq took place in Baghdad in October, when militants stormed the Our Lady of Salvation Church, killing 70 people and injuring 75 others.
The violence has prompted a "slow but steady exodus" of thousands of Christians from Baghdad and Mosul, the U.N. refugee agency said recently.
And in Nigeria, at least 31 people were killed -- many of them Christian -- during a series of seven blasts on Christmas Eve in the city of Jos.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI urged Christians to remain strong in the face of intolerance and violence in a New Year's appeal Saturday that came hours after a bomb blast outside an Egyptian church killed 21 people as worshippers left Mass.
The pope condemned a widening campaign against Christians in the Middle East in his homily at St. Peter's Basilica, echoing comments last month in which he called a lack of religious freedom a threat to world security.
"In the face of the threatening tensions of the moment, especially in the face of discrimination, of abuse of power and religious intolerance that today particularly strikes Christians, I again direct a pressing invitation not to yield to discouragement and resignation," he said.
Benedict has repeatedly denounced a campaign against Christians in Iraq blamed on al-Qaida militants, including an October attack on a Baghdad Catholic church that claimed 68 lives, two of them priests.
The Vatican is very worried that a steady exodus of minority Christians from Iraq will permanently reduce their numbers and discourage the wider community of Christians in the Middle East.
Benedict cited what he called two negative extremes at work in the world: secularism, "pushing religion to the margins to confine it to the private sphere," and "fundamentalism, which instead would like to impose (religion) with force on all."
The Vatican celebrates New Year's as World Peace Day, and Benedict urged world leaders to make a "concrete and constant commitment" to help bring peace.
On Saturday, a bomb exploded in front of a Coptic Christian church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, killing at least 21 people in an attack that raised suspicions of an al-Qaida role.
Benedict recalled his speech last month in which "I stressed that religious freedom is the essential element of a state of law — you cannot deny it without, at the same time, undermining all rights and fundamental freedoms."
After leaving the basilica, the pope removed his gold-colored robes, donned an ermine-trimmed crimson cape to guard against the chill, and greeted from his apartment window pilgrims and tourists in a packed St. Peter's Square.
The new year, he said, is an opportunity to reflect "on the great challenges that our epoch poses to humanity," calling the threats to religious freedom urgent.
"Wherever religious freedom is effectively recognized, the dignity of the human person is respected to its root, and through a sincere search for truth and good, moral consciences are shored up and institutions and civil coexistence are reinforced," the pope said. "That's why religious freedom is the privileged way to build peace."
Benedict also announced that in October he will make a pilgrimage to Assisi and invited non-Catholic Christians as well as world religious leaders to join him in the Umbrian hill town of St. Francis.
He said he wanted to mark the 25th anniversary of a similar pilgrimage made by Pope John Paul II and highlight his conviction that "the great religions of the world can constitute an important factor of unity and peace for the human family."


  1. I'm glad that the Pope is speaking out, it is very courageous of him to do so even as the rest of the world and the shariah compliant media looks the other way and yawns as the new holocaust bears down upon us.
    I've been writing about the need to stop ignoring the genocide at my own blog, here's the link if you'd like to see:

  2. Thanks so much for your visit and comment!
    Yes, me too ... I think he will become even more direct in the future as things progress ... there's much more to this than he can now say.
    I already follow your blog but have now also added it to the blogroll here.