Pope Benedict XVI Announces Religious Peace Summit Just Hours After Egyptian Bomb Kills Coptic Worshippers

Assisi: The Italian town that gave the World St Francis
It is worth remembering that St Francis of Assisi isn't just famed for his devotedness to Lady Poverty, his miraculous stigmata or his founding of a new Order of Friars which would captivate the hearts of men and women for Christ. Much overlooked in the life of St Francis is the fact that during the time of the Crusades he went to see the sultan in Egypt...and returned alive!

According to our beloved BBC...

'Pope Benedict XVI has said he will organise a summit in Assisi with religious heads to discuss how they can promote world peace.

In a New Year message, the Pope also condemned inter-religious violence, including attacks against Christians in the Middle East.

The summit in the Italian city will be held in October, 25 years after Pope John Paul organised a similar event. His announcement came hours after a bomb went off at a church in Egypt. At least 17 people died in the blast at the Coptic Christian Church in the northern Egyptian city of Alexandria, sparking a clash between Christians and Muslims.

A bomb has killed and injured worshippers in Alexandria
Speaking in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Pope Benedict said the aim of the summit would be to "to solemnly renew the effort of those with faith of all religions to live their faith as a service for the cause of peace. Facing the threatening tensions of the moment, especially discrimination, injustices and religious intolerance, which today strike Christians in a particular way, once again, I make a pressing appeal not to give in to discouragement and resignation," he said. He said the summit would also "honour the memory of the historical event promoted by my predecessor".
Pope John Paul hosted a similar event in 1986, which was attended by leading Jews and Muslims, as well as the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Pope Benedict has repeatedly denounced attacks on Christians in Iraq, including an assault on a Baghdad cathedral in October which killed at least 50 people. The Vatican fears that the violence is driving many Christians out of the region.'

According to Channel 4, Coptic Christians protested in the wake of the atrocity shouting, "We sacrifice our souls and blood for the cross," as if they are fully expecting more diabolical assaults on their freedom to practise the Christian Faith. Who can possibly tell them that they are wrong and that they can hope for protection? Certainly not Egyptian President Mubarak, who, while condemning the attack by "wicked terrorists", rather insensitively stated, "This blind terrorism does not differentiate between Copts and Muslims." Coptic Christians, I dare say, would beg to differ! Say a prayer, too, for Christians in Nigeria, too, where six were killed on Christmas Eve, at the hands of Islamic terrorists.