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Pope, Iraqi Catholic leader mourn Baghdad cathedral victims

November 03, 2010

Pope Benedict and Iraqi Catholics leaders mourned the victims of the October 31 attack by Islamic militants on the Syrian Catholic cathedral in Baghdad.

“Deeply moved by the violent death of so many faithful and their priests Tha’ir Saad and Boutros Wasim, I wish, during the sacred funeral rite, to share spiritually in this occasion and pray that these our brothers and sisters are welcomed by the mercy of Christ into the Father’s house,” Pope Benedict wrote in a message read by Syrian Catholic Archbishop Athanase Matti Shaba Matoka during the November 2 funeral liturgy.

“For years, this country has been suffering untold hardships and even Christians have become the subject of brutal attacks that, in total disregard of life-- an inviolable gift from God-- want to undermine confidence and peace,” the Pontiff added. “I renew my call that the sacrifice of our brothers and sisters may be the seed of peace and true rebirth, and that those who care about reconciliation, solidarity and fraternal coexistence, find the strength and motivation to do good.”

Corbishop Philip Najem, procurator for the Chaldean Catholic Church, said:

This attack has been condemned by the whole Iraqi community! It is not a matter of faith! Certainly, the intention is to create chaos. There are dark forces that have entered the country only to create this division and to prevent the process of pacification of Iraq … I heard yesterday that there were many Muslims who had gone to donate blood for the victims who were injured in the church. The extremists have been condemned by Muslims themselves: by that Islam that knows God, that knows faith, that knows love, that knows charity!

“This is a barbaric attack, different from other attacks,” he added. “This time the extremists have come to a church where people were praying. They were innocents attacked by people who do not know the meaning of prayer, the meaning of God the Creator. So no one can say that this has been done in the name of a religion, a faith or a god. This is an attack against humanity, against the Church, against religion, against faith, against the dignity of the human being.”


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