Vatican Radio Goes Silent for Iraq's Dead

3-Minute Pause Focuses on Nation's Plight

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 20, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Vatican Radio silenced its programs for three minutes in memory of the victims of violence in Iraq.



The broadcaster joined Catholics worldwide in response to the Iraqi Parliament's proposal for three minutes of silence at midday today (10 a.m. Roman time) in remembrance of the deceased.

With this gesture, the new political leaders in the country wished to remember in a special way the close to 30 dead, many of them children, in the attack in east Baghdad on July 13, as well as all victims of terrorism.

That same morning, 10 people died and some 20 were wounded in a suicide attack outside an army recruitment center in Baghdad.

A report issued Tuesday by the Oxford Research Group estimates that, since the start of the war in Iraq in March 2003, some 25,000 civilians have met violent deaths.

Spiritual meaning

Presenting the moment of silence on Vatican Radio, Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of the Chaldean Patriarchate of Baghdad said he hoped it would "unite all sides."

"Unfortunately, every day more civilians die," he said.

He explained that the silence has "spiritual" meaning. If a person is silent, he discovers "a dimension of peace, as, where there is silence, the Lord speaks with more clarity," Bishop Warduni said.

Christians in Iraq lived the moments of silence "praying in churches," the Iraqi prelate added. "We remember the victims and pray for a special grace for the terrorists, so that they will put an end to violence once and for all."