- Feb 23, 2020
One man with up close and personal experience of the risks threatening Christianity in the Middle East has said those in Iraq and Syria, at least in part, blame fundamentalist terrorism and heightened tensions between the United States and Iran for the region’s dwindling number of Christians.
Speaking to Crux, Giampaolo Silvestri, secretary general of the AVSI foundation, which sponsors development projects in needy areas throughout the world, said, “There is absolutely an instrumentalization of the poor people who live in Syria.”
In a private meeting with Pope Francis, Catholic patriarchs of the Middle East had an opportunity to sound the alarm regarding the survival of Christians in the region as a result of persecution, extremism, economic insecurity and immigration to the West.
A mammoth crowd of mostly barefoot Filipino Catholics prayed for peace in the Middle East on Thursday at the start of an annual procession of a centuries-old black statue of Jesus Christ in one of Asia’s biggest religious events.
Catholics working to shape public policy in favor of peace, collaboration and nonviolent alternatives to war expressed concerns that the drone strike killing Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani likely will fuel an escalating tit-for-tat series of responses that would engulf the Middle East in war.
As counterintuitive as it may seem, there’s a case to be made that the Vatican might be a good choice to broker conversation between the U.S. and Iran to try to head off a regional conflagration.