Pope Benedict has expressed his sorrow at last Sunday’s violence which took place in Egypt’s capital and called for a peaceful co-existence to be upheld between all communities in the country.The Holy Father made the appeal on Wednesday during his General Audience.
Thousands of pilgrims and tourists from as far away as Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and the United States took up their positions in an autumnal St Peter’s Square for the Pope’s weekly General Audience
It was against the unmistakable backdrop of St Peter’s Basilica on Wednesday that the Holy Father spoke of his deep sadness at the violence which engulfed the Egyptian capital Cairo last Sunday.
26 people mostly Coptic Christians where killed when a peaceful protest by Christians demonstrating over an earlier attack on a church in southern Egypt turned violent.
The Pope said he was united in sorrow with the families of the victims and with the Egyptian people, who he said, were being torn apart by attempts to undermine the peaceful co-existence between communities in the country.
Pope Benedict underlined the importance of preserving that co-existence, especially he said, at this time of transition and he urged the faithful to pray , so that Egypt can enjoy a true peace based on justice, respect for freedom and the dignity of every citizen.
The Holy Father also expressed his support for the efforts of the Egyptian authorities, both civil and religious, to bring about a society which respects the human rights of all its citizens and, in particular, minorities.
During the Audience those waiting to hear the next installment of the Pope’s catechesis on Christian prayer were not disappointed. This week Pope Benedict turned to Psalm 126.
“This Psalm is a joyful prayer of thanksgiving for God’s fidelity to his promises in bringing about Israel’s return from the Babylonian Exile: “The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced” A similar spirit of joy and thanksgiving should mark our own prayer as we recall the care which God has shown to us in the events of our lives, even those which seem dark and bitter.”
The Holy Father went on to explain that the Psalm demonstrates our faithful passage from darkness to light.
“The Psalmist implores God to continue to grant Israel his saving help: “May those who sow in tears, reap with shouts of joy” This imagery of the seed which silently grows to maturity reminds us that God’s salvation is at once a gift already received and the object of our hope, a promise whose fulfilment remains in the future. Jesus will use this same imagery to express the passage from death to life, from darkness to light, which must take place in the lives of all who put their faith in him and share in his paschal mystery.”
Also making reference to Psalm 126 and speaking off the cuff in Italian the Pope said it was important to remember the good things we are given by God, because it is these gifts that can sustain us in dark times.
Before giving greetings in English to visitors including members of the NATO Defence College, the Pope and the whole of St Peter’s Square was treated to a performance by St Mary’s Cathedral Choir who had come all the way from Sydney Australia.
As published by the Vatican.