2011-03-21 13:21:23

Eastern Christians modern day martyrs

While the worlds eyes are focused on the unfolding tragedy in Libya and the so called “jasmine revolution” that is sweeping Arab nations in North Africa and the Middle East, the Vatican’s Congregation for Eastern Churches is calling on Catholics not to forget the plight of Christians in these countries, as violence against them escalates.

A letter signed by Prefect Cardinal Leonardo Sandri speaks of a “tangible sorrow” at the “escalating violence” against Christians in Eastern regions the consequence of which is “acutely felt” in the Holy Land.

He writes that “the Christians of the East are experiencing the actuality of martyrdom and are suffering because of the instability or absence of peace. The most disturbing sign of this is their inexorable exodus. Indeed a few positive signs in some situations do not suffice to invert the sorrowful tendency of Christian emigration which impoverishes the entire area, draining it of the most vital forces constituted by the young generations”.

For this reason, the Cardinal asks Catholics to remember their brothers and sisters in these lands during Lent, particularly in the Good Friday Collection, dedicated to these Christian communities. He points out that the initiative, “recalls a commitment that dates back to apostolic times”.

Cardinal Sandri concludesIt is therefore up to us to join the Holy Father to encourage the Christians of Jerusalem, Israel and Palestine, of Jordan and of the surrounding Eastern countries, to “never resign ourselves to the absence of peace. Peace is possible. Peace is urgent. Peace is the indispensable condition for a life worthy of humanity and society. Peace is also the best remedy to avoid emigration from the Middle East”. Listen to Emer McCarthy's report: RealAudioMP3

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