November 15, 2010Page 3
By Carol GlatzCatholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Adeadly militant siege of a Catho-lic cathedral in Baghdad, Iraq,was a “savage” act of “absurd vi-olence,” Pope Benedict XVI said.The pope urged internationaland national authorities and allpeople of good will to work to-gether to end the “heinous epi-sodes of violence that continue toravage the people of the MiddleEast.”“In a very grave attack onthe Syrian Catholic cathedral of Baghdad, dozens of people werekilled and injured, among themtwo priests and a group of faithfulgathered for Sunday Mass,” thepope said of the Oct. 31 incident.“I pray for the victims of thisabsurd violence, which is evenmore savage because it struckdefenseless people, gathered inGod’s house, which is a house of love and reconciliation,” he saidafter praying the Angelus withpilgrims in St. Peter’s SquareNov. 1, the feast of All Saints.He expressed his closenessto Iraqi Christians, who havesuffered another attack in theirhomeland, and he encouraged thenation’s priests and lay faithful“to be strong and steady in hope.”Pope Benedict renewed hisurgent call for peace in the Mid-dle East.While peace may be a gift of God, “it is also the result of ef-forts by people of good will andnational and international institu-tions,” he said.“May everyone unite theirefforts so as to end all violence,”he said.Armed militants wearingexplosives stormed the cathedralOct. 31 while an estimated 100faithful were celebrating eveningMass, news reports said.
The terrorists rst set off
a car bomb across the street infront of the Baghdad Stock Ex-change, which left at least twopeople dead. Then they stormedthe church, killing another twopeople, according to reports.The militants, who said theywere part of the Islamic State of Iraq -- a group with suspected tiesto al-Qaida -- held parishionersand priests hostage in the hopesof leveraging the release of pris-oners from their network.The terrorists demandedprisoners linked to al-Qaida beset free from detention in Iraqand Egypt and they threatenedto blow up the church if militaryforces attempted to break thesiege, according to Italian statemedia RAI.Iraqi security forces ringed
the church and U.S. military ew
overhead in helicopters.After a standoff that lastedhours, Iraqi forces stormed the
cathedral and the ensuing reght
and a series of explosions left 58people dead and 75 injured.The dead included twoyoung priests, hostages, Iraqi se-curity forces and suspected mili-tants and at least one child waskilled in the incident.
Violence in Baghdad Cathedral kills 58,injures 75 people attending Mass
Pope callsfor worldwideday of prayerNov. 27
In an unprecedented request,Pope Benedict XVI issued astatement last month asking theentire world to join him Nov. 27in a vigil to pray for nascent (un-born) life.The vigil celebrated by the
Pope will coincide with rst ves
-pers of the First Sunday of Ad-vent. The Holy Father requeststhat this vigil be observed indioceses and respective parishesthroughout the world.Pastors, pro-life representa-tives, and members of the faith-ful are encouraged to observe thisprayer vigil according to whatmay best be adapted to local par-ish and/or deanery settings.Given the importance of the Holy Father’s request, theUSCCB Secretariat of DivineWorship and the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities have collabo-rated to develop user-friendly re-sources for diocese and parishes.The program templates are easilycustomized for local use and areposted on the USCCB websiteat www.usccb.org/prolife/papal-vigil.Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston addresseddirect threats to human life andcalled Catholics to “constantlywitness to the inestimable worthand dignity of each human lifethrough a loving concern for thegood of others.” He also encour-aged participation in the world-wide “Vigil for All Nascent Hu-man Life” called for by PopeBenedict XVI at the start of Ad-vent.“I heartily encourage allCatholics, whether at home ortraveling over the Thanksgiv-ing holidays, to take part in thisspecial prayer, whose purpose ac-cording to the Holy See,” he said,“is to ‘thank the Lord for his totalself-giving to the world and forhis Incarnation which gave ev-ery human life its real worth anddignity,’ and to ‘invoke the Lord’sprotection over every human be-ing called into existence’.”