ASIA/YEMEN - Massacre of Sisters, Bishop Ballin: the closer the Church is to Jesus the closer she shares in his passion

Saturday, 5 March 2016 martyrs  

Aden (Agenzia Fides) – “The closer the Church is to Jesus the more closelyshe shares in his passion”. The massacre by a group of armed men committed inside a Home for elderly and disabled persons entrusted to the care of the Sisters of Mother Teresa is “a sign that the Congregation is very close to Jesus Christ, because the nearer a person comes to Jesus Christ the more they come close to his cross . A Christian who is far from Christ will never be touched by persecution, whereas the Christian who comes close to Christ becomes involved in his passion and death and will be close to him in the glory of his victory ”. Comboni missionary Bishop Camillo Ballin MCCJ, Vicar apostolic for Northern Arabia, encourages people to see the massacre in Yemen in the light of the martyrdom experience which has always accompanied the vicissitudes of the Church on her pilgrimage in history. The slaughterers targeted defenceless people, who had nothing to do with the devastating conflicts in the region, and had done no harm to anyone. “The slaughtered Sisters” Ballin tells Fides “devoted their lives to serving elderly and disabled persons. In 1998 three Missionaries of Charity were beaten to death. I saw their disfigured faces after the beating. This means that the Congregation follows Christ very closely, and can show the way to others belonging to different religious families”.
Regarding the responsibility for the massacre, the Vicar for Northern Arabia warns not to heed the manipulations of persons who aim to criminalise Islam indistinctly as a whole:
“To kill in the name of God” Ballin tells Fides “is something terrible which no genuine Muslim can accept. Those who commit similar inhuman crimes are individuals dominated by and ideology which unbalances the human person”.
Often, vicissitudes of Christian martyrdom intersect in a mysterious manner, historic convulsions fomented by clashes for power: “These outbreaks of violence” the Comboni Bishop continues “must also be seen in connection with unbalance produced in the area by the lifting of sanctions on Iran , which has now become more powerful and open. To blame is also the race to lower the price of oil and the battle for hegemony in the region, between Arabia anxious to maintain its Wahabit Empire and Iran anxious to reestablish the Persian Empire”.
Pope Francis described the massacre in Aden “senseless and diabolic violence”, and in a message issued through his Secretary of State cardinal Pietro Parolin he prayed that the sacrifice of the sisters and their friends and helpers “will awaken consciences, lead to a change of hearts and inspire all parties involved to lay down their weapons and turn to the path of dialogue”.
There is still no information on the plight or whereabouts of Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnanil, who was in the assaulted residence. “It would seem he has been abducted, but this has yet to be confirmed " said official Salesian sources. In the meantime a statement issued by the al Qaida network in the Arabian peninsula and taken up by Arab media denied any involvement of the Jihadist group in the massacre in the Care Home in Aden. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 5/3/2016).

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