Report: Pope has Algerian martyrs beatified

Rome/Algiers - By Lena Klimkeit and Youcef Tazir, - Pope Francis had 19 Algerians deemed to be martyrs of the Church beatified on Saturday, according to a report by Vatican News.
The leader of the Catholic Church sent Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, the head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to the north-western Algerian city of Oran for the Beatification Mass.

"We believe that this unprecedented event in your country will draw a great sign of fraternity in the Algerian sky to the whole world," Francis wrote in a greeting in French, the language of the former colonial power France still widely spoken in the mostly Muslim country.
The martyrs included Pierre Claverie, the bishop of Oran who was killed in a 1996 attack during the Algerian civil war.
The list of martyrs also includes seven monks who were kidnapped and killed by Islamist extremists in the same year.
The 19 people were all killed "out of hatred for faith," Pope Francis said on Saturday in St Peter's Square in the Vatican.
The beatification was held in Oran's Catholic Church of Santa Cruz.
Algerian Minister of Religious Affairs Mohammed Aissa, who attended the ceremony, called it an "important" event.
"The Algerian constitution safeguards the freedom to practise religious rituals for non-Muslims," Aissa said, according to the state-run Algerian Radio.
The Catholic Church's procedure of beatification constitutes the first step towards becoming a saint.

Saturday, December 8th 2018
By Lena Klimkeit and Youcef Tazir,

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