The following day, he sent a telegram to Baghdad as Catholics held funerals for two priests and several others among the 58 people killed in the violence.
"Deeply saddened by the violent deaths of so many faithful and of Fathers Tha'ir Saad and Boutros Wasim, I want to participate spiritually in the funeral while I pray that these brothers and sisters would be welcomed into the mercy of Christ in the Father's house.
"For years, this beloved country has suffered unspeakable pain, and even the Christians have become the objects of savage attacks which, with total disrespect for life, the inviolable gift of God, try to undermine trust and civil coexistence.
Our Lady and her Immaculate Heart, damaged by bullets, at the entrance of the Sayidat al-Nejat Cathedral in Baghdad
"I renew my appeal that the sacrifice of these brothers and sisters of ours may be seeds of peace and of true rebirth and so that all those who have at heart reconciliation and a coexistence marked by fraternity and solidarity would find reasons and strength to work for good" PP. Benedictus in a telegram sent to the Catholics of Baghdad on 2 November, All Souls Day.
I am bereft at this and so relegated to passing along the Holy Father's words. This slaughter comes very shortly after the death of another martyr, Bishop Luigi Padovese of Iskenderun, Turkey. These 58 sisters and brothers of mine, led by their faithful pastors, Tha'ir Saad and Boutros Wasim, are surely martyrs and we should venerate them as saints. Above all, we need to begin caring about the plight of the Church throughout the Middle East. Their martyrdom occurred on what we observe on the Latin calendar as All Hallows Eve.