I pray that the Christians in the Middle East will not be forced to abandon their ancestral lands, says Pope Francis.
Following the intense and ever increasing persecution of Christians in Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria, the sufferings of Chaldean Christians found priority in the eyes of Pope Francis in recent synod of the Chaldean bishops. During the synod, Pope Francis prayed for the Christians in Middle East and urged the international community to step up its efforts to terminate terrorism in the region.
“May God’s mercy soothe the wounds of war afflicting the heart of your communities, so that no one may feel discouragement in this time, when the outcry of violence seems to drown out our heartfelt prayers for peace.”
At this occasion, Pope Francis Pope Francis grieved over the effects of the “fanatical hatred sown by terrorism.” Moreover, Pope Francis remained anxious regarding the “exodus of Christians who leave the lands of their fathers, where they grew up firmly rooted in the furrow of tradition.”
“I pray that Christians will not be forced to abandon Iraq and the Middle East. I think, especially, of the sons and daughters of your Church and their rich traditions,” he said.
Further more, Pope Francis expressed the fact Christianity is not new in this region. Christians have been nearing witness to the Gospel of Christ in this region. They witnessed the growth and Church, and also had suffered a lot for their Christian faith. He said, they have contributed to the growth of society “over centuries of peaceful coexistence with our Islamic brothers and sisters. Sadly, these are times which are instead marked by countless examples of persecution, and even martyrdom.”
Moreover, he pointed out to the fact that the Holy See completely supports the Chaldean Church and that he was well aware of the needs of the Chaldean Christians.He urged and encouraged the Bishops to create and sustain unity among the Christians in Iraq.
“I encourage you to be a father to your priests and all consecrated men and women, who are your primary collaborators and, in respect for tradition and canonical norms, to be accepting of them, benevolent and understanding of their needs, discerning ways to help them be ever more aware of the demands of their ministry and service to the faithful.”
“I ask all of you, their pastors, to bring my words of encouragement to the faithful of the Chaldean Church. May they echo on your lips as a caress from the Pope, which warms their hearts.”