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Monday, February 27, 2006

Pope says terrorists face God's wrath

Vatican, Feb. 27 ( - Terrorists who kill in the name of religious faith will receive a stern judgment from God, Pope Benedict XVI warned during a public audience on Sunday, February 26.

Responding to a new spate of religious violence in Iraq and in Nigeria, the Pope said: "God, the Creator and Father of all, will be severe in his judgment of those who shed their brothers' blood invoking His name."

With the season of lent approaching, the Pope suggested that Christians should fast and pray for an end to bloodshed, particularly in the nations where religious conflicts are now flaring.

The Pontiff referred first to the attacks on mosques in Iraq, in a conflict between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims. These attacks, he said, "spread mourning, nourish hatred, and interfere with the already difficult job of reconstruction in that country."

He also noted the religious conflicts in Nigeria, where several days of confrontation between Christians and Muslims have caused many deaths and the destruction of several churches and mosques. Such violence deserves "firm condemnation" by all responsible religious leaders, he said.

Violence and bloodshed are not authentic products of religious faith, the Holy Father said. True faith, he said, produces "not destructive conflict, but the spirit of brotherhood and cooperation for the common good."

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