Radio Vaticana report: The victims of Sunday’s massacre in Our Lady of Salvation Church Baghdad were laid to rest Tuesday. A telegram from Pope Benedict to the leader of the Syro-Catholic Church in the Iraqi capital, Archbishop Athanase Matti Shaba Matoka, was read out to mourners during the funeral service.The Pope says “deeply moved by the violent death of so many faithful and their priests Tha’ir Saad and Boutros Wasim, I wish, during the sacred funeral rite, to share spiritually in this occasion and pray that these our brothers and sisters are welcomed by the mercy of Christ into the Father's House”.He continues “for years this country has been suffering untold hardships and even Christians have become the subject of brutal attacks that, in total disregard of life – an inviolable gift from God - want to undermine confidence and peace”. Pope Benedict writes “I renew my call that the sacrifice of our brothers and sisters may be the seed of peace and true rebirth, and that those who care about reconciliation, solidarity and fraternal coexistence, find the strength and motivation to do good”.Hundreds of Catholics and non Catholics gathered at the Church of St Joseph in central Baghdad Tuesday, the Feast of All Souls, to bury the dead from Sunday’s ferocious attack. “This attack has been condemned by the whole Iraqi community! It is not a matter of faith! Certainly, the intention is to create chaos. There are dark forces that have entered the country only to create this division and to prevent the process of pacification of Iraq”, says Corbishop Philip Najem, procurator for the Chaldean Catholic Church. “I heard yesterday that there were many Muslims who had gone to donate blood for the victims who were injured in the church. The extremists have been condemned by Muslims themselves: by that Islam that knows God, that knows faith, that knows love, that knows charity!” On Sunday Islamic militants killed 58 people and wounded nearly 80 in a shocking attack during evening Mass at the Syro-Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation.On Tuesday speaking to a packed and distraught congregation Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, urged the government to protect the nation's Christian community and not let their promises just be ink on paper. He said “We are gathered here in this sacred house to say farewell for our brothers who were just the day before yesterday exclaiming love and peace”. An Iraqi military spokesman said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the detention of the police commander, whom he did not identify by name. The commander was in charge of securing the Karradah neighborhood in Baghdad where Our Lady of Salvation is located.Also Tuesday, speaking from Syria where he is on official visit, Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi said the assault was “very painful” for the stunned nation because “it harbours a sinister plan to empty the region of one of its main components: the Christians”.Corbishop Philip Najem says that the Iraqi community as a whole has been gathering around the Christian community: “This is a barbaric attack, different from other attacks. This time the extremists have come to a church where people were praying. They were innocents attacked by people who do not know the meaning of prayer, the meaning of God the Creator. So no one can say that this has been done in the name of a religion, a faith or a god. This is an attack against humanity, against the Church, against religion, against faith, against the dignity of the human being”.
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