Pope Assails Violence Done in the Name of God
Laments Attacks on Places of Worship in Iraq and Nigeria
VATICAN CITY, Feb.. 26, 2006 (www.Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI condemned all violence done in the name of God, and in particular the recent attacks on places of worship in Iraq and Nigeria.
After publicly reciting the Angelus today, the Pope reminded those present in St. Peter's Square that "news continues to arrive these days of tragic violence in Iraq, with attacks in the mosques themselves."
"These are actions that sow mourning, fuel hatred and gravely hinder the already difficult work of the country's reconstruction," he said.
Iraqi Defense Minister Saadoun Dulaimi said Saturday that the wave of violence following the attack on the Shiite shrine in Samara last Wednesday left more than 200 dead, and he warned of "a civil war" that "will never end."
The Pope also mentioned the confrontations that have taken place in Nigeria between Christians and Muslims, "with many victims and destruction of churches and mosques."
Clashes in Nigeria left 150 dead and 900 injured. The confrontations were due in the main to political issues, though the spark that caused them were protests against the publication of cartoons on Mohammed in Western newspapers.
The Bishop of Rome expressed his "firm condemnation for the violation of places of worship," and commended "to the Lord all the deceased and those who mourn for them."
Addressing the faithful, Benedict XVI proposed "more intense prayer and penance, in the holy season of Lent, so that the Lord will remove from these beloved nations, and from many other parts of the earth, the threat of such conflicts!"
"The fruit of faith in God is not devastating antagonisms," he added, "but the spirit of fraternity and collaboration in favor of the common good.
"God, Creator and Father of all, will call to an even more severe account all those who shed their brother's blood in his name. May all, through the intercession of the Holy Virgin, again encounter him, who is authentic peace!"