Thursday, January 11, 2007

Letter to Catholics in Middle East

Yesterday, the Pope addressed the Catholics living in the Middle East. He acknowledged their sacrifices and sufferings and made an appeal for their vital continuing witness in the Holy Land.
For some time now it has become clear that many Christians are leaving the
Middle East, to such an extent that the Holy Places are at risk of being reduced
to archaeological sites, void of any ecclesial life. Undoubtedly, minorities
find it difficult to survive in the midst of dangerous geopolitical situations,
cultural conflicts, economic and strategic interests, and forms of aggression
which claim justification from a social or religious basis. In fact, many
Christians eventually give in to the temptation to emigrate. Often the damage
done is practically irreparable. One must not forget, however, that simply being
together and living through common suffering has a healing effect on wounds and
disposes people to thoughts and deeds of reconciliation and peace. This in turn
gives rise to a habitual, fraternal dialogue, which in time and with the grace
of the Holy Spirit, can become a broader dialogue in the cultural, social and
political spheres. Believers moreover are confidently aware of a hope that does
not delude, because it is rooted in the presence of the Risen One. From him
comes the commitment of faith and our active love of neighbour (cf. 1 Th 1:3).

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