Pope Says Pakistan Church Attack an Evil Act

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope John Paul (news - web sites) condemned the murder of Christians in a Pakistani Roman Catholic church on Sunday as ``an evil act'' and said he was praying for the victims and their families.

Suspected Muslim militants shot dead 15 Christians and a policeman at Sunday prayers in the central Pakistani town of Bahawalpur.

The Pope's office sent a telegram to the Pakistan Catholic Church ``expressing his absolute condemnation of this further tragic act of intolerance.''

``He expresses his prayerful closeness to all affected by this evil act and as a pledge of comfort and strength he invokes upon the entire community the blessings of almighty God,'' the telegram said.

The killings took place during a Protestant service that was being held in the Catholic church.