Pope Francis waves from the popemobile after leading a Mass at Rizal Park in Manila.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Francis condemned the ”intolerable brutality” of the Islamic State members in Syria and Iraq from Vatican Square during Sunday mass, and prayed for for the violence to come to an end.
After his traditional Sunday blessing, Francis deviated from the tradition mass program to speak of the recent tragedies of Christians in the Middle East, specifically the recent kidnappings of over 200 Christians in Syria.
"Dear brothers and sisters, Unfortunately the dramatic news from Syria and Iraq is without cease, the violence, kidnapping and harassment against Christians and other groups.” Francis said.
Francis’ remarks come just after over 200 Assyrian Christians were taken hostage by the Islamic State. In addition, Iraqi Christians have been accused of the abduction of 100 Sunni tribesmen from outside Tikrit. Francis called of members of the audience to help alleviate the suffering of those Christians facing persecuted from the Islamic State.
"I ask everyone, according to their ability, to work to alleviate the suffering of those who are in affliction, often only because of the faith they profess.” the Pope said. “Let us pray for these brothers and sisters who are suffering for their faith in Syria, in Iraq.”
The Pontiff also stated that those who have been captured will not be forgotten, and that the church will continue to work for their safe return.
“We want to assure those involved in these situations that we do not forget them,” Francis said, “but we are close to them and pray insistently that as soon as possible there is an end to the intolerable brutality of which they are victims."
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