Responding to the string of attacks against eight Christian churches in Iraq on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his spiritual closeness to the victims and prayed for the attackers' "conversion of heart."
The attacks took place on Sunday evening at eight separate churches in Baghdad and Mosul.
One church, St. Mary's Chaldean Catholic Church, was attacked shortly after 7:00 on Sunday evening. The bomber pushed his car in front of the church after convincing guards that his car—secretly packed with explosives—had broken down. The explosion occurred just as churchgoers left Mass, killing at least four and wounding dozens.
Pope Benedict decried the spate of bombings in a telegram sent to Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans by the Vatican's Secretary of State.
The Pope, the telegram says, "prays for a conversion of heart in the authors of this violence, and encourages the authorities to do everything possible to promote just and peaceful coexistence among all sectors of the Iraqi population."
The Holy Father "also gives assurances of his prayers and his spiritual closeness to the Catholic and Orthodox communities of the Iraqi capital," the telegram states.