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Pope condemns violence: against immigrants and against Christians

January 11, 2010

At his midday audience on Sunday, January 10, Pope Benedict XVI spoke out against anti-immigrant violence in Italy, and anti-Christian oppression in other countries.

The Holy Father—who had baptized several children earlier in the day, fulfilling a regular Vatican tradition for the feast of the Baptism of Christ—devoted most of his Angelus audience to a discussion of that sacrament. "Baptism also provides a model for society: that of being brothers,” he said.” Fraternity cannot be created through an ideology, even less so by a decree on the part of some authority.”

Turning later to the concrete question of immigration, the Pope called attention to the “sometimes violent attacks” on immigrants in various parts of the world. (Although he did not specifically refer to recent conflicts in Italy, his words were widely interpreted as a reaction to recent riots in southern Italy, in which African immigrants were attacked.) “An immigrant is a human being, different by background, culture and tradition, but a person to be respected, and possessing rights and duties, particularly in the area of work where the temptation to exploitation is greater, but also in the area of living conditions,” the Pope reminded his audience. “Violence must never be a way to resolve difficulties.”

Next the Pope turned to the recent acts of violence against Christians in several countries. He said that political authorities must not “renege of their responsibilities” to protect all of their people.


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