Bombings won’t stop Pope Francis from carrying out his mission of peace.
The Vatican deputy secretary of state, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, said the twin bombings on Palm Sunday of Coptic churches won’t stop the pope from “carrying out his mission of peace.” Archbishop Becciu was making a reference to the pope’s upcoming visit to Egypt, where he will spend a little more than a day in a meeting with the Egyptian President, the Grand Imam and the Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros.
The pope’s visit is supposed to be a sign of solidarity with the Christian community of Egypt that has been facing a lot of persecution of late. As such, the attacks have made the visit all the more important for the pope, instead of dissuading him from the visit. The Vatican confirmed despite Egypt having declared a state of national emergency, the pope will go on with his visit.
The bombings killed almost 50 people, leaving over a hundred others injured. The pope wanted to visit the Coptic Christians of Egypt to encourage them and show them they are not alone. In such a scenario, it is a rather touching gesture by the leader of the Catholic Church to stick to his resolution to meet the suffering community, despite the potential dangers of the trip.
The attacks, for which the Islamic State claims responsibility, happened in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria. The Coptic Pope Tawadros was leading a service in one of the churches, Saint Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria.
Although Egypt has a Catholic population of only 0.5 percent, the Coptic Christians make a significant portion. The pope’s visit will be significant to both because the Catholics will see it as their leader is visiting them, while for the Coptic Christians it is a sign that their troubles are getting attention from the global Christian community.
Attacks on churches have been happening for a long time now. ISIS attacks are relatively new and have been rising since December 2016. Although the pope’s visit is definitely set to go as scheduled, for now, sources say “will have to keep our finger on the pulse of the situation until the very last minute.”