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Pope Francis tells consistory of 'unjust' situation for Middle East Christians

24 October 2014

by Simon Caldwell


In need: above: Syrian Kurds in the Suruc refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border

In need: above: Syrian Kurds in the Suruc refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border

CHRISTIANS in the Middle East are enduring attacks of terrorism "on an unimaginable scale", Pope Francis has said.

At the opening of a consistory of cardinals to the Middle East on Monday, the Pope said that the Roman Catholic Church wished to make every possible effort to help Christians of the region stay in the face of increasing persecution: "We cannot resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians, who have professed the name of Jesus there for over 2000 years."

He continued: "We are witnessing a phenomenon of terrorism on an unimaginable scale. Many of our brothers and sisters are brutally persecuted and driven from their homes.

"It seems that an awareness of the value of human life has been lost. It is as if people do not count, and can be sacrificed to other interests.

"This unjust situation requires, aside from our constant prayer, an adequate response on the part of the international community."

The consistory heard that that there was a real danger of a "new genocide" in northern Iraq and Syria, and it called on governments to provide more humanitarian aid for refugees, as well as action to halt both the flow of weapons into the region, and the illegal trade in oil and technology which is sustaining the Islamic State.

The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said: "In the specific case of violations and abuses committed by the so-called Islamic State, the international community, through the United Nations and the structures that exist for similar emergencies, must act to prevent possible new genocides and to assist the numerous refugees."

The Cardinal said that the RC leaders of the region were opposed to the provision of visas for Christians to flee into exile, however.

It would preferable, he said, for them to be offered the security needed to stay in their home countries.

The Cardinal also said that there was an urgent need to establish a just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Vatican confirmed on Monday that Pope Francis is to visit Turkey next month.

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