Christians living in Muslim countries under Islamic law (sharia) are terrorized, oppressed and subjugated. In Egypt, the Christian community is under siege by devout Muslims. Slaughtering Christians in their churches, forced conversions, daily humiliations and harassment, and the pope says ….. forgive.
I am no Christian theologian, but this is not what Jesus had in mind when he said turn the other cheek. This pope is leading his flock to slaughter. Christianity has never forbidden self-defense or, in the case of the Christians of Egypt, prudent steps for self-protection in the face of a vastly more powerful foe. The Pope is counseling Egyptian Christians to adopt, under the guise of “forgiveness,” a passive and defenseless stance in the face of constant persecution. This will only hasten the total eradication of the Christian community in Egypt.
“The stadium has a capacity of 30,000, according to the Vatican, but appeared to be far from full on Saturday ….”
Pope Francis Calls on Egypt’s Catholics to Embrace Forgiveness
Christians voice optimism over pontiff’s visit after series of attacks by Islamist extremists
By Francis X. Rocca and Dahlia Kholaif, Wall Street Journal, April 29, 2017:
CAIRO— Pope Francis celebrated Mass for members of Egypt’s small Catholic community on Saturday morning, urging them to hope and forgive those who terrorize and persecute them.
“True faith…makes us see the other not as an enemy to be overcome, but a brother or sister to be loved,” the pope said in his homily. “Do not be afraid to love everyone, friends and enemies alike.”
The pope spoke less than three weeks after Islamic State terrorists killed more than 40 Orthodox Coptic Christians in Palm Sunday bombings of two Egyptian churches.
The vast majority of Egypt’s estimated 9.5 million Christians, approximately 10% of the country’s population, are Orthodox Copts. Catholics are a minority within a minority, numbering only 272,000 at the end of 2015, according to the Vatican.
While Christians enjoy equality under the law with Egypt’s Muslim majority, they suffer from widespread social discrimination and have been the targets of large-scale attacks and individual killings by Islamist extremists.
That experience has brought the separate Christian churches closer in an “ecumenism of blood,” Pope Francis said Friday evening in a meeting with the Orthodox Coptic leader, Pope Tawadros II.
The two popes prayed together at the Church of St. Peter, the site of a bombing by Islamic State in December 2016 that killed 29 people. Pope Francis touched a wall stained with blood of those killed in the attack and looked at portraits of the victims.
At Saturday’s Mass, thousands of Christians—from Egypt and elsewhere—cheered and released hundreds of yellow-and-white balloons into the air as Pope Francis entered Cairo’s Air Defense stadium in an open golf cart.
The pontiff denounced religious extremism, saying that the “only fanaticism believers can have is that of charity. Any other fanaticism does not come from God and is not pleasing to him.”
Those words echoed his speech to a largely Muslim audience the day before, in which he condemned killing in God’s name.
During the Mass, a layman read a prayer in French for Christian “martyrs of Egypt” and for those forced to emigrate from the country. Christians have been abandoning Egypt’s north Sinai, a stronghold for Islamic State, which in February issued a call to attack the region’s Christians.
In a speech to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on Friday evening, the pope deplored the “murders and the threats that have led to an exodus of Christians from northern Sinai.”In Egypt, Pope Condemns Religiously Inspired Violence
Egypt’s Christians largely supported the rise of Mr. Sisi, who overthrew the elected President Mohammed Morsi in a military coup in 2013, but the recent attacks have shaken confidence that he can guarantee their safety.
The Mass was the only public event during the pope’s 27-hour visit, his seventh to a Muslim-majority country and the second papal visit to Egypt, following that of Pope John Paul II in 2000.
The location of the Mass evoked the region’s history of conflict. Built to commemorate Egypt’s 1967-70 war against Israel, the stadium became notorious after a 2015 clash between police and soccer fans that left 22 people dead.
The stadium has a capacity of 30,000, according to the Vatican, but appeared to be far from full on Saturday, apparently an effect of the extraordinary security measures surrounding the papal visit. Mass-goers were required to arrive hours in advance and to surrender their mobile phones before the event.
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