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Pope Denounces Killing Of Monks

In an angry condemnation of the slayings of seven monks in Algeria, Pope John Paul II singled out Muslims on Sunday with demands that such “despicable episodes” never be repeated.

The comments amplified the denunciations by the pope shortly after reports last week that the French Trappist monks had been beheaded by the Armed Islamic Group because France had refused to free jailed militants.

Speaking to crowds in St. Peter’s Square, the pope called the executions of the monks “the latest in a series of despicable episodes of violence that have disrupted, for a long time, the life of Algeria.”

In France, church bells tolled across the country in memory of the monks, and Jean-Marie Lustiger, archbishop of Paris, relighted the seven candles he had snuffed out at Notre Dame Cathedral after hearing news of the killings.

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