Pope Condemns ISIS Murder of Four Nuns in Yemen

Pope Francis condemned the murder of 16, including four Catholic nuns, at a Missionaries of Charity nursing home in the Yemeni port of Aden as “diabolical violence” on Sunday. The gunmen also kidnapped an Indian priest. Officials blame ISIS.

The Pontiff called the nuns “today’s martyrs” in his message to thousands at St. Peter’s Square. “They do not make the front pages of the newspapers, they do not make the news. They have given their blood for the Church.” They are “victims of indifference, of this globalization of indifference. They don’t matter,” said the Pope, departing from his prepared text.

Four gunmen gained access to the nursing home by pretending to visit their mothers. They went room to room, handcuffed and shot in the head eight elderly residents, the four nuns, and four others. One nun survived by hiding in a refrigerator.

Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa.

All of the nuns had been called by their order, which was founded by soon-to-be-sainted Mother Teresa, to return to its headquarters in Kolkatta, India. Yet the nuns stayed on in the war-ravaged nation, compelled to continue serving the needy.

The kidnapped priest’s whereabouts are still unknown. President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi of Yemen called the kidnapping an act of terrorism. Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj identified him as Father Tom Uzhunnalil.

Pope Francis “prays that this pointless slaughter will awaken consciences, lead to a change of heart, and inspire all parties to lay down their arms and take up the path of dialogue”, Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said.

“He sends the assurance of his prayers for the dead and his spiritual closeness to their families and to all affected from this act of senseless and diabolical violence.”

Yemen, the poorest nation in the Middle East, has been wracked by war since late 2014. The Houthi’s, a Shiite minority group backed by Iran, drove the Sunni-controlled government from the capital of Sanaa and took over vast areas of the country. A coalition of ten nations, led by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, has struck back militarily against the Houthis since March, 2015.

The UN reports over 8,100 causualties so far, including 2,800 deaths. ISIS and Al Qaeda-sponsored terror groups have proliferated.

In a CBN interview, “Sam,” a Yemeni Christian who chose to remain anonymous, discussed how the war has hurt Christians. “It’s unfortunate, but they are playing with the souls of people. The simple Yemeni citizen doesn’t want these groups with their Islamic agendas to influence the country. What ends up being destroyed is people’s lives and businesses. Yemen has never had a stable government and this makes it an ideal place for terrorists to breed chaos.”

He continued. “The government says there is religious freedom, but that is not true. Christians are routinely harassed. They face daily struggle and persecution, first from their family members; then from the government.”

Nobody knows how many Christians live in Yemen. Most estimate a few thousand secret believers. Sam worries he will be arrested or killed if the government finds out he converted from Islam to Christianity. He asks believers to pray for his nation.

The murdered nuns have been identified by the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia as Sr. Anselm from India, Sr. Margherite from Rwanda, Sr. Reginette from Rwanda, and Sr. Judith from Kenya.

The identities of the gunmen are unknown. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

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