Leader of Egypt's Catholics Urges Fraternity After Attack

Gives Government a Vote of Confidence

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ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, OCT. 14, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The leader of the Catholic community in Egypt is calling on the faithful to "live in a sincere spirit of citizenship" even after Sunday's military attack on a group of peaceful protestors.

A statement sent to ZENIT by Cardinal Antonios Naguib, patriarch of Alexandria of the Coptic Catholics, invited the faithful to "caring fraternity with all their brothers and sisters in the country."

The Thursday statement responded to Sunday's violence -- the bloodiest event since February's ousting of the Egyptian president. Eye witnesses reported that the military opened fire on the protestors, crushing some of them with armored vehicles. More than two dozen died and hundreds were wounded. The demonstrators were protesting the burning of a Christian church last month.

Egypt is about 10% Christian.

Cardinal Naguib's statement condemned "all acts of violence and all those who commit such acts," and called on officials "to take the necessary steps and firm measures to provide security and safety, establish clear and stable solutions to the problems that cause tension and conflict, uphold the law's supremacy in dealing with conflicts and crimes, and ensure the objectivity of the media."

"We have full confidence that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the Government and the Judiciary, are able to lead the country to stability and security, ensuring the well-being and dignity of all citizens," the cardinal added.

The military has been ruling Egypt since February and is supposed to be paving the way for elections.

The cardinal, in fact, urged Egyptians to participate in the political and electoral process, calling it a "sacred duty," and one that aims "at establishing a modern democratic state, based on the law, full citizenship, equality, justice, and the guarantee of freedoms."

"This is in order to ensure a better future for Egypt, a shining future based on hope and work, to which we continue to contribute generously through our institutions for education, charity and development, at the service and for the good of all the citizens of our beloved Egypt, trusting in the Divine Providence that sustains us."

On Thursday, the government announced its resolve to investigate the disputes over Christian church building permits.

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-33665?l=english