Saturday, 4 March 2006

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI intervened several times in the month of February with regard to incidents in various parts of the world following the publication in certain European newspapers of cartoons on the Prophet Mohammed firmly condemning all kinds of violence and calling for respect for all religious beliefs . On the occasion of the murder of Italian missionary Rev Andrea Santoro, Fidei donum priest of Rome diocese, shot dead in Turkey, Pope Benedict XVI sent a telegramme of condolence to Cardinal Camillo Ruini, his vicar general for the diocese of Rome expressing the wish that “blood shed may become a seed of hope to build authentic brotherhood among peoples”. In a second telegramme to the Vicar Apostolic of Anatolia, Bishop Luigi Padovese, the Pope wrote: “Informed of the tragic death of Fr Andrea Santoro a fidei donum priest of the diocese of Rome, who was carrying out his Gospel ministry with generosity and apostolic zeal in Turkey at the service of needy and marginalised people, I wish to express at this time of sorrow my special closeness to this Christian community, and once again firmly deplore every kind of violence, and while I assure you of my fervent prayers of suffrage for this most zealous priest, I impart to you, venerable Brothers to the priests and to all the faithful the comfort of the Apostolic Blessing ”. During the entire month Pope Benedict XVI did not fail to deplore repeatedly all forms of violence and at the same time stressed the need to promote sentiments of peace rather than hatred. “It is imperative - the Pope said on 21February when he received on ad limina visit the Bishops of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau - to build ever deeper relations between communities to favour harmonious development of society, recognising the dignity of every individual and allowing each to practice his or her religion”.