Updated: November 12, 2014 04:19 PM GMT
Pope Francis condemned the "absurd violence" being used against Christians in several countries and called on people of good will everywhere to take up the cause of religious freedom.
At the end of his general audience Wednesday, Pope Francis asked the estimated 15,000 people in St Peter's Square to join him in reciting the Lord's Prayer for Christians facing persecution.
"With great trepidation, I am following the dramatic incidents of Christians in several parts of the world being persecuted and killed because of their religious beliefs," the pope said. "I must express my deep spiritual closeness to the Christian communities so harshly struck by an absurd violence that does not show signs of stopping."
Calling on political leaders on the national and international level, as well as on "all people of good will," Pope Francis urged a global "mobilization of consciences" to protect persecuted Christians. "They have a right to find security and peace in their own countries while freely professing their faith."
In his main audience talk, Pope Francis continued his series on the church and its structure, focusing on the qualities necessary in its ministers.
"One does not become a bishop, priest or deacon because he is more intelligent or better than others," the pope said, "but only because of a gift: God's gift of love poured out by the power of the Holy Spirit for the good of his people."
Source:Catholic News Service
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