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Pope to Egypt civil authorities: The freedom and faith of all must be respected

The pope met with 800 members of the Egyptian civil authorities, including members of Government and Parliament, Distinguished Ambassadors, and members of the Diplomatic Corps. The President of Egypt, Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, thanked Pope Francis for his visit, as it strengthens relations between Egypt and the Vatican that were struggling just a few years ago. The president recalled that, just as when St. Joseph and the Virgin had to seek refuge in Egypt, today many refugees from the region are also seeking peace in the country of the Nile. After the president, Pope Francis spoke and precisely underlined Egypt's role as a stabilizing element of the convulsive Middle East. POPE FRANCIS "Egypt, in building peace and at the same time combating terrorism, is called to give proof that 'al-din lillah wal watan liljami' â?? religion belongs to God and the nation to all,â? as the motto of the Revolution of 23 July 1952 states. Egypt is called to demonstrate that it is possible to believe and live in harmony with others, sharing with them fundamental human values and respecting the freedom and the faith of all."  Pope Francis also had special words for Coptic Christians from Sinai, those who fled their homes due to extremist persecution, and those were the victims of the two attacks on Palm Sunday. POPE FRANCIS "I think also of the murders and the threats that have led to an exodus of Christians from northern Sinai. I express my gratitude to the civil and religious authorities and to all those who have offered welcome and assistance to these persons who have suffered so greatly. I also think of the victims of the attacks on Coptic churches, both last December and more recently in Tanta and Alexandria. To the members of their families, and to all of Egypt, I offer my heartfelt condolences and my prayers that the Lord will grant speedy healing to the injured." In light of these attacks, the pope recalled that we are living a fragmented world war which it is necessary to fight against. POPE FRANCIS "No civilized society can be built without repudiating every ideology of evil, violence and extremism that presumes to suppress others and to annihilate diversity by manipulating and profaning the Sacred Name of God." Finally, Pope Francis wanted to highlight the presence of Christians in Egypt and recalled that they are an integral and fundamental part of the country. POPE FRANCIS "You have shown, and continue to show, that it is possible to live together in mutual respect and fairness, finding in difference a source of richness and never a motive of conflict." Pope Francis concluded his speech by delivering a blessing to Egypt that was received with loud applause. AC/MB CTV -v -BN Up:jc