USCCB News Release
January 6, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Archbishop Dolan, Bishop Hubbard Decry Violence against Christians, Express Solidarity, Urge U.S. To Protect Religious Freedom
WASHINGTON (January 6, 2011)—In separate letters to the head of Egypt’s Coptic Christians and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.S. bishops condemned the recent attacks on Christians, including the New Year’s Day attack on the Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria, Egypt, and expressed their solidarity with the victims of religious violence. They also affirmed the ongoing work of the U.S. Church and government to work for the religious freedom of all people, especially vulnerable minorities.
In his January 4 letter to Shenouda III, patriarch of the See of St. Mark in Alexandria, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, called the attack in Egypt a “shocking assault on human life and religious freedom.”
“I was horrified to learn that over 20 people died and more than 100 were injured. So many innocent lives lost to such senseless violence calls for the strongest condemnation by all religious leaders and by persons of conscience everywhere,” wrote Archbishop Dolan. “Please be assured that the Catholic bishops of the United States stand in solidarity with you and your Church in this time of trial and suffering. We continue to work with others to defend the life, dignity and human rights, especially religious freedom, of vulnerable minorities, especially Christians, in the Middle East.”
Bishop Howard J. Hubbard expressed grave concern in a January 6 letter to Secretary of State Clinton following the attacks against Christians in Egypt, Iraq and Nigeria as well as other countries over Christmas and the New Year. Speaking as chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, Bishop Hubbard said that “egregious violations of human rights as well as indifference and inaction by foreign governments to the protection of their own citizens must be weighed seriously” in economic and political decisions taken by the Administration.
Bishop Hubbard also cited Pope Benedict XVI’s recent World Day of Peace Message, in which the pope urged greater religious freedom, saying that religious freedom is the “path to peace.”
“We ask everyone to pray for the religious freedom of Christians and other people of faith in countries where they are under attack,” said Archbishop Dolan in a separate statement. “The recent violence in the Middle East and the ongoing threats to religious freedom in countries like Pakistan, Nigeria, China and North Korea remind us of what Pope Benedict has recently said, that religious freedom is essential not only as a human right, but in ensuring world peace.”
Keywords: Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Bishop Howard Hubbard, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, peace, religious freedom, Egypt, China, Nigeria, Coptic, Shenouda III, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
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