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Pope sends message of solidarity to Christians in Iraq

 The Holy Father has sent a telegram expressing solidarity in the wake of recent attacks against Christian communities in Baghdad, Mosul and Kirkuk on 6 and 9 January. The message was addressed to Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq, Here is the text of the message signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone SDB. "Deeply concerned to learn of the attacks on Christian targets in Baghdad, Mosul, and Kirkuk which took place last Sunday and yesterday, the Holy Father expresses his spiritual closeness to the injured and their families. To Your Eminent Beatitude, as President of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Iraq, and to the Archbishops of the cities concerned, he offers fraternal assurances of prayer as you seek to offer hope and strength to your people. "He asks you, moreover, to convey his heartfelt solidarity to the superiors of the religious communities affected by these attacks, and to renew his sentiments of sincere solidarity with all members of the Christian communities in Iraq, catholic and non-Catholic alike. Mindful that such attacks are also directed against the whole people of Iraq, His Holiness appeals to the perpetrators to renounce the ways of violence, which have caused so much suffering to the civilian population, and he encourages all those in authority to renew efforts towards peaceful negotiation aimed at a just resolution of the country's difficulties, respectful of the rights of all. Praying for a return to the peaceful coexistence of the diverse groups that make up the population of this beloved country, the Holy Father commends all the people of Iraq to the heavenly protection of our almighty and merciful Father." Source: Fides