As Vatican prays for Iraqi Christians, Baghdad announces massacre arrests
CWN - November 29, 2010
At a Mass celebrated in St. Peter’s basilica for the Christians who died in a Baghdad church massacre, the prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches insisted that Christians must be assured security in Iraq.
"Our thoughts, hearts and prayers go to Iraq and many other parts of the world, where to this day loyalty to baptism is answered in blood,” said Cardinal Leonard Sandri. He reminded the congregation in the Vatican basilica that the witness of martyrdom strengthens the faith.
At the same time, Cardinal Sandri implored international leaders to press for the safety of Iraq’s Christian communities. In remarks aimed particularly at the members of the Vatican diplomatic corps, who had been encouraged to attend the service, the cardinal said that Christians “must be able to remain where they were born to offer personally and through the works of the Church, without any discrimination, their unique contribution to charity at an educational and cultural level and in social assistance.”
In Baghdad, meanwhile, the Iraqi government announced that 12 people have been arrested in connection with the massacre on October 31. Those arrested, who are believed to be responsible for the slaughter of 57 people inside the church of Our Lady of Salvation, include a local leader of Al Qaida. But the arrests failed to calm the fears of Christians. Thousands are leaving Iraq for safety elsewhere, while Church leaders complain that the government has not taken adequate steps to protect the religious minority.
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