Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone sent a telegram of condolence in Benedict XVI's name, remembering the priest and three deacons murdered Sunday in Iraq.
The priest was killed in front of the Church of the Holy Spirit after saying Sunday Mass. According to Reuters, police said that gunmen stopped the priest's car, dragged him and the deacons out and shot them. Iraqi sources said militants related to al-Qaida are responsible for the increasing persecution of Christians in Mosul.
The papal telegram was sent to Chaldean Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul.
The telegram said: "The Holy Father was deeply saddened to learn of the senseless killing of Father Ragheed Aziz Ganni and subdeacons Basman Yousef Daoud, Ghasan Bidawid and Wadid Hanna, and he asks you kindly to convey to their families his heartfelt condolences."
It continued: "He willingly joins the Christian community in Mosul in commending their souls to the infinite mercy of God, our loving Father, and in giving thanks for their selfless witness to the Gospel.
"At the same time he prays that their costly sacrifice will inspire in the hearts of all men and women of good will a renewed resolve to reject the ways of hatred and violence, to conquer evil with good and to cooperate in hastening the dawn of reconciliation, justice and peace in Iraq."
The telegram concluded: "To the families and to all who mourn their dead in faith and in the hope which draws its certainty from the resurrection, His Holiness cordially imparts his apostolic blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in the Lord."
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Priest and three deacons killed in Iraq
Please pray for the repose of the souls of the priest and three deacons murdered on Sunday in Iraq. Today's Zenit carries an article on their murder: