Before the Pope began his weekly sermon, he gave his condolences to the congregation for the Maspiro Martyrs. “Those that protested peacefully without bearing arms”, he continued referring to those who were killed, “walked from Shubra to Maspiro in the open, without weapons, full of courage.”
The crowd responded loudly with chants saying “Raise your head up, you are Coptic”, a slogan that has become popular during Coptic protests.
He confirmed 24 dead and over 300 injured. “The scale of these casualties has never been seen to this extent before!”, the Pope said.
“Autopsy showed two thirds of the martyrs died from bullet wounds and a third died by being run over by army vehicles”, after which many were angered in the crowd.
“These beloved sons of ours are loved by us and their blood is not cheap! For their love to God and for God’s love to them, He allowed them to go to heaven before us. They are looking down from above and are praying for us. We salute them with all the prayers of the clergy, monks and the congregation.”
The Pope concluded this segment by saying, “Rest assured that God has witnessed everything and God will do according to his divine good will.”
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 12, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is expressing his “profound sadness” over Sunday’s violence in Egypt that resulted in the death of more than two dozen people, nearly all of them Christians.
“I am profoundly saddened by the episodes of violence that were committed in Cairo last Sunday,” the Pope said at the end of today’s general audience.
Though today, the military blamed Christians for triggering the violence, original reports described the situation as a peaceful protest over the burning of a church, which turned bloody at the hands of police and military.
The Holy Father said, “I unite myself to the suffering of the families of the victims and to that of the entire Egyptian people, torn as it is by attempts to undermine the peaceful coexistence of its communities, [a coexistence] that instead it is necessary to safeguard, especially in this moment of transition.”
Christians, mostly Orthodox Copts, make up about 10% of Egypt’s population. Sunday’s violence was the biggest clash since the Egyptian president was ousted in February.
Benedict XVI called on Catholics to pray, that Egypt “might enjoy a true peace, founded upon justice, upon respect for the freedom and the dignity of every citizen.”
“Moreover,” he said, “I support the efforts of the Egyptian authorities, civil and religious, who promote a society in which the human rights of all are respected, and in particular of minorities, to the benefit of national unity.”
Cedar Grove, N.J. – The Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America joins the Mother Church in Egypt and the world in mourning at least twenty-five Egyptians brutally killed in the peaceful demonstrations that took place on October 9, 2011. The Archdiocese offers its deepest condolences to the families of the victims and continues to fast and pray for peace in Egypt.
The Coptic Church has laid too many of her children to rest in recent years due to pervasive sectarian violence that for too long has gone unaddressed. The Coptic Orthodox Christians killed and injured on October 9 were guilty of nothing more than exercising their right to peacefully protest the burning of yet another church in the land of one of the oldest Christian Churches in existence.
The criminals who instigated and committed this violence threaten not only Egypt’s ancient indigenous Coptic minority, but all of Egyptian society. It is our beloved Egypt that stands to suffer from such violence and injustice: the millions of Egyptians who understand that the glory of Egypt’s past and the promise of its future lie in the strength and unity of its people.
We call upon the Egyptian officials and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation of the circumstances that led to this latest attack and to take affirmative steps to protect the country’s Coptic community.