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
"This unjust situation requires, aside from our constant prayer,
an adequate response on the part of the international
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
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,
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
The Vatican confirmed on Monday that Pope Francis is to visit
Turkey next month.