"The last words spoken by the Holy Father yesterday, encourage us and we will reread them during World Mission Day" said Fr. Nabil Fayez Antoun of Egypt, referring to Pope Benedict's expression of concern over the deaths of Coptic Christians that occured on October 9 when the Egyptian military fired on Coptic protesters. Dozens died as a result of gunfire and after being crushed by armoured vehicles. "I am deeply saddened by the episodes of violence that were committed in Cairo on Sunday. I join in the sorrow of the victims' families and the entire Egyptian people, torn by the attempts to undermine the peaceful coexistence between its communities, which is important to preserve, especially in this time of transition", said Benedict XVI. Fr Antoun is the direct of the Pontifical Mission Society in Egypt.
"Unfortunately, the Holy Father's words were reported by the Egyptian media without comment and without in-depth examination", said Fr Antoun. "However, in newspapers and Egyptian television stations, criticism and controversy for the massacre of the Copts is very high, and requests are made to clarify the role played by the military. As Catholics we participated in the 3 days of fasting and prayer promoted by the Coptic Orthodox Church to honor the victims. Tomorrow night we will have a prayer vigil to express our union with the Coptic Church in this time of sorrow", concluded the priest.
Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.