Pope prays for `tested` Christians after Copt attack
Pope Benedict XVI said Christian communities were being "tested," as Coptic Christians prepared to celebrate Christmas after a bomb attack in Egypt that killed 21 people.
Vatican City: Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday said
Christian communities were being "tested," as Coptic
Christians prepared to celebrate Christmas after a bomb attack
in Egypt that killed 21 people.
"I send my heartfelt greetings and best wishes to our
brothers and sisters of the Eastern Churches who will
celebrate Christmas tomorrow," the pope said in his weekly
address to thousands of pilgrims in Saint Peter`s Square.
"May the goodness of God...strengthen the faith, hope
and charity of everyone and give comfort to the communities
that are being tested," he said.
The pope added that Christians should set an example
and "shine like sons of light to attract everyone to the
beauty of the kingdom of God."
Egyptian security forces have thrown up a cordon of
steel to secure Coptic churches ahead of the Christmas
celebrations after a New Year`s Day church bombing in
Alexandria that has sparked riots and protests around the
Italy has also stepped up security measures to defend
the few thousand Coptic Christians who live in the country,
Italian newspapers reported.
Meanwhile Angelo Bagnasco, the head of the Italian
bishops` conference, called on Europe to speak out against
rising anti-Christian violence.
"We are astonished by such violence and religious
intolerance...The international community, starting with
Europe, should speak with a strong and clear voice for the
defence of religious freedom," he said in a sermon.