Thursday, August 28, 2008

BIS # 1089 POPE APPEALS FOR PEACE IN ORISSA

VATICAN CITY,

AUGUST 28, 2008: Pope Benedict XVI has condemned the violence in Orissa and appealed for communal amity as attacks on Christians continues, killing at least 10 people. On Wednesday, August 27, during his weekly catechesis the Pope said he "learned with deep sadness" the violence against Christians that began on Monday. “I firmly condemn all attacks against human life, the sacredness of which demands the respect of all, I express my spiritual closeness and solidarity to the brothers and sisters in the faith so hardly tried,” the Pope said. He also prayed “the Lord to accompany and support them in this time of suffering and give them the strength to continue in the service of love in favour of all." Radical Hindu groups began violence against Christians on Sunday after a Hindu religious leader, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, and five of his associates were killed on August 23 in the state's Kandhamal district. The Pope called the murder of the Hindu leader "deplorable” and condemned the violence that has erupted in the wake of the killing. "Some persons have been killed and others injured. Worship centres, church property and private houses have also been destroyed" the Pope said. The Pontiff called on “religious leaders and civil authorities to work together to restore among the members of the various communities the peaceful coexistence and harmony which have always been the distinguishing mark of the Indian society." (Courtesy: ICNS)

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