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Pope warns of divisive ideologies in homage to Communist-era martyrs


Pope Francis waves as he arrives to attend the celebration of the Divine Liturgy and the beatification ceremony of seven Greek Catholic martyr bishops at the Liberty Field in Blaj, Romania June 2, 2019. REUTERS/Remo Casilli



Pope Francis warned against any new ideological attempt to sow fear or division in society on Sunday as he paid tribute to Christians in Romania killed or persecuted under Communism.


Francis traveled to the central city of Blaj to beatify seven Communist-era bishops of the Eastern Rite Catholic Church who died in prison or as a result of their harsh treatment.


After World War Two, Romania’s Communist authorities confiscated properties of the Eastern Rite Catholic Church and ordered its members to join the majority Orthodox Church, which was easier for the party to control.


The pope, who appeared tired on the last day of his trip to Romania, beatified the bishops as martyrs at an open-air Mass said in the Byzantine rite used by Eastern Rite Catholics, moving them one step closer to sainthood.


Eastern Rite Catholics worship in a Byzantine rite as Orthodox Christians do. But unlike the Orthodox, they are in communion with Rome and the pope.



Reuters

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