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Cardinal Sandri on Egypt: coexistence only way forward

(Vatican Radio) The Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri has again appealed for an end to violence in Egypt, saying his Congregation is, “following, with great concern, the terrible situation,” in the country and shares in Pope Francis’ prayers for the victims and those who continue to suffer the severe consequences of the ongoing conflict. The Prefect was writing in the Thursday edition of L’Osservatore Romano, in which he expressed the hope that, Egypt will seek, “Dialogue and reconciliation that will lead to restoring civil peace, resuming social life, and reconstructing the areas affected by the events.”

Cardinal Sandri also expressed “fraternal closeness” to Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II and to his community, and addressed “a special thought” to Catholic Coptics, led by Patriarch Ibrahim Sidrak, to all the bishops, priests and faithful of the Eastern Catholic Churches and Churches of the Latin Rite in Egypt. “May the Lord support them in such a difficult trial of the entire nation, he said, adding, “He comforts those who suffer in body and spirit, especially the innocent, and embraces the many victims with his peace. Their tears are the tears of all Eastern Churches throughout the world.” Listen: RealAudioMP3

Cardinal Sandri’s remarks in L’Osservatore Romano echoed statements he made in French to Vatican Radio earlier this week, during the course of which he said, “We pray for all their Churches, we suffer with them, and we hope that Egypt will be able renew [itself in] a future of reconciliation and peace.” Christians constitute roughly ten per cent of Egypt’s total population. Rights monitors have confirmed more than forty attacks against Christian sites in Egypt since the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi and subsequent crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood organization in the country.