The Real Threat to the Christian Presence in the Middle East
The Real Threat to the Christian Presence in the Middle East
Speech by Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi
patriarch Cardinal Mar Beshara Boutros Al-Rahi affirmed that the situation in the Middle East is witnessing a dangerous transformation, especially after the emergence of fundamentalist movements that have overshadowed the popular movements demanding reforms and democracy.
In the midst of this situation, the Christians paid the heaviest price, and their presence in this region, which dates back to the time of Jesus Christ, is in great danger. He believes that the real threat to the Christian presence in the East.
His Beatitude’s words came during an intervention he delivered as a keynote speaker at the Fifth Annual Conference of The International Catholic Legislators Network ICLN, which was held in Rome at the invitation of the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, and the participation of many parliamentarians, senators,
ministers and political officials in several countries including the United States of America, Mexico, Lithuania, Britain, Italy, Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Kenya, Macedonia, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Korea, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Spain, Zimbabwe, Slovenia, and Austria.
The conference focused on Christians in the Middle East and the challenges of this stage in the life of the region. His Beatitude went on to briefly present the situation of Christians in the region and said:
“The attack on Christians in the world today has been documented with facts, and the threat to the Christian presence has become real in many countries of the Arab world, specifically in Egypt, Iraq, and Syria, in the face of what emerged from Takfiri organizations such as ISIS and others. They were attacked, and Christians were forced to leave the countries in which they had lived as original citizens for more than 2000 years.
This mass exodus will deprive the region of its human
Cultural, scientific, economic, and national wealth. At the same time, this matter distorts the image of Islam because it is committed in the name of religion and God and shows it to the world as if it were a religion that rejects diversity and persecutes everyone who differs from it. Add to that, we are witnessing an open conflict between the Sunni and Shiite sects, and the fall of thousands of innocent victims on both sides.
His Beatitude continued: “It is a very painful situation, the most painful of which is this silence in the official regional and international positions, especially the silent stance of the Islamic authorities, whether spiritual or political, as well as the lukewarm international stance regarding all the events that occurred. The great tragedy today is the one experienced by the Christians of Iraq, specifically Mosul, where about 13 Christian towns were deserted from the Nineveh Plain. In addition to this, what also happened to the Yazidis and other minorities?
All these people were uprooted from their homes by ISIS,
So they left and fled without having anything but what to wear. They desecrated their churches, shrines, and mosques, and planted mines in their homes and on their roads. These Christians are Chaldean, Syriac, Assyrians, Armenians, and Evangelists. They have taken refuge in Erbil and elsewhere, and we thank everyone who received them and helped them, and we say that it is very necessary now, as we approach winter, to secure housing for them and help their children to pursue their education.”
His Beatitude concluded by presenting a number of solutions that can be used to end the tragedy of this East, calling for an end to terrorist organizations. He pointed out that “Islamic countries must act and help put an end to these organizations because they cannot remain as a silent observer about what is happening.”
These terrorist organizations such as ISIS and others harm Islam and distort its image. Then he called for “the establishment of a military force under the supervision of the United Nations and the Security Council to put an end to the attacks and incursions carried out by terrorist organizations and to put pressure by the Arab and international family on anyone who finances, helps or trains these organizations, and to support the Christian presence in the Middle East to protect the dialogue between religions and the preservation of coexistence between cultures and civilizations.
At noon, His Beatitude met the Secretary of the Vatican City, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who addressed a word of welcome and greetings to Cardinal Shepherd and Cardinal Schönborn, praising the importance of the conference, which is a sign of hope and hope in a dark world. You legislators and fellow co-participants and enthusiastically engaged in the political and public life of your countries and communities, you who are nourished and critiqued his professional profession in accordance with your Catholic faith.
City of the Earth
I would like to thank you for your work to promote Christian witness in the world. I know that you are here because of your enthusiasm for the “City of the Earth” which aspires to uphold the Christian roots and the inherent virtues and values of societies around the world so that, together, we may reach the “City of God”. Yesterday we celebrated the feast of St. Augustine, to whom we owe the image of these two cities. History is unambiguous and is concerned with the movement of two loves and the conflict between them. They are love, as he wrote.
They contribute to the growth of two cities: the first is earthly, loves itself and does not even care about God, and the second is heavenly, which loves God and does not care about itself. The City of God, xiv, 78 (And in the difficult times of constant strife and colossal revolutions, just as during the fall of Rome and the conquest of the Vandals who besieged. In those difficult times in which Augustine was giving up his soul, he did not lose his courage but about that.
The struggle used his faith as a key to translating what was happening, and he presented an entire work, The City of God so that others could learn how to understand current conditions and create a new order of living in society.
It is a study in harmony with the logic of wisdom, and it puts the human heart at the center stage and shows the true nature of Christian hope. And I believe that even in our difficult times, valuable signs are clearly visible through the experiences and teachings of St. Augustine.
Dear friends, we can say without hesitation that the Church needs you for its global mission, and in return, you need the Church as a mother and teacher for all. In the midst of the diversity of its services to the world, the Church has one mission, which is to connect everything with Christ. And for this task, the Church needs you.
You activate Catholic legislators because your work is a vital part of apostolic secularism.
Holiness Pope Francis
Wrote that we must do our best to “light a torch in the heart of this world.” This means through your words, your testimonies, your legislation, and your faith-based policy. You are called to build and promote just societies based on human dignity. The church knows that your work is not easy. The Real Threat to the Christian Presence in the Middle East
It understands the many threats facing family life in the form of policies or laws that allow or even speed up the process of family disintegration. It is also fully aware of the urgent need to alleviate misery and poverty and support the integral development of societies whose children suffer from neglect. Just as the Church needs you, so do you. It puts at your disposal its secrets, its wise counsel, and its pledge of the moral truth of natural law. It also supports your continuous initiatives in serving the common good through your application of the law.
In this regard, His Holiness the Pope and the bishops encourage your work to serve the kingdom of God on earth in union with their mission as shepherds.” Then there was a retreat between Cardinal Shepherd and Cardinal Parolin that focused on the situation in the Middle East and the Vatican’s diplomatic role in helping to find solutions, maintaining the Christian presence in the Middle East, and establishing A just and comprehensive peace, which the Holy See is keen to implement, as emphasized by the Secretary of State.
This afternoon, Cardinal Al-Rahi chaired a session discussing the situation in the Middle East and the role of political forces and civil society in supporting the issues of Lebanon and the Middle East. He stressed the importance of pluralism and the cultural and civilizational richness that distinguished the East thanks to interfaith dialogue and positive Christian-Muslim interaction that carries a bright message to the whole world, stressing the necessity of confrontation. Common to all forms of terrorism, extremism, and fundamentalism that are hostile to religion. (Google Translate)
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