THESE were the Pope’s most recent words to the international community. He was once more speaking about the atrocities being committed by Islamic extremists in the Middle East, particularly the leaders and followers of IS–the Islamic State.
Pope Francis sent a message of solidarity to refugees, expressing as well his gratitude to those who are helping them, and exhorting the international community to react in the face of the terrible situation for Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.
The Holy Father sent a letter to the Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan, Archbishop Maroun Lahham, who traveled to Jordan to mark the first anniversary of the arrival of Iraqi refugees in the Hashemite Kingdom on Aug. 8, 2014.
Archbishop Lahham is participating in many events and meetings visiting shelters for refugees in Jordan.
The Holy Father’s message begins by noting that he was using the occasion of Archbishop Lahham’s Jordan visit to reach “with a word of hope” those oppressed by violence and forced to abandon their homes and their homeland.
The Pope once more reiterated his desire to speak out against “the atrocious, inhumane and inexplicable persecution” of “victims of fanaticism and intolerance” in the Middle East and how these atrocities and cruel treatment are often overlooked and met with silence by the rest of the world.
“They are the martyrs of today, humiliated and discriminated against for their fidelity to the Gospel,” he said. He gave a reminder of the faithfulness of the Church which never forgets or abandons her children exiled because of their faith. Francis thanked the refugees for being heroic witnesses for Christ.
To those who have been helping the hundreds of thousands forced to flee, the Pope said, “You proclaim the resurrection of Christ,” and noted their help has illuminated moments of darkness in the lives of the suffering. “May the Lord reward you, as only He can do, with the abundance of His gifts,” Pope Francis said in his letter.
He then expressed the ardent hope that world public opinion “be ever more attentive, sensitive and participatory in face of the persecutions carried out in dealings with Christians and more, in general, of religious minorities.”
“I renew my hope that the International Community will not remain silent and inert in face of such unacceptable crimes, which constitute a worrying disregard of the most essential human rights and impedes the richness of coexistence among peoples, cultures and faiths,” he said.
In closing the Holy Father asked for the prayers of the refugees and victims and offered them his Apostolic Blessing and entrusted them to the Blessed Virgin Mary’s protection.
We, Christian Filipinos, and also our Filipino Muslim brethren, who do not in any way approve of the atrocities being committed against Christians by the IS and other Islamic extremists, must respond to Pope’s Francis’ call.