ALGERIA: Bishops Say Martyrs’ beatification can Unite Christians and Muslims

ALGIERS DECEMBER 7, 2018 (CISA) – The Episcopal Conference of North Africa (CERNA) has termed the oncoming beatification of 19 martyrs in Algeria as a great joy to the Church, as it will assist in uniting Christians and Muslims of the country.

Archbishop Paul Desfarges of Algiers, wrote in a commentary published December 5 on the website of the bishops’ conference, that the beatification represent, “…hope for the future,” rather than a, “complaint about the past”.

“This beatification is not a ceremony just for Christians, but is an honour for all Algerian Christians and Muslims who are now living together in peace,” he said according to Crux.

The bishops added that the Catholic martyrs would be popularly associated with 114 imams who refused to condone violence during the dark decade of the Algerian civil war of the 1990s.

The martyrs include seven French Trappist monks kidnapped from a monastery at Tibhirine in 1996 and later beheaded, and French-born Bishop Pierre Claverie of Oran, who was blown up in the same year by a remote-controlled bomb fixed to his garage.

The other martyrs include six women religious and five men religious killed between 1993 and 1996 when Algeria was locked in a 10-year-long armed conflict between government forces and extremist Islamic rebel groups where 200,000 people died.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes, will beatify the martyrs in the Sanctuary of the Holy Cross, Oran, after Pope Francis signed a decree in January recognizing them as martyrs.