» 09/30/2013, 00.00
Patriarch Sako: Eastern Christians, United and firm in faith before the challenge of religious extremism
In pastoral visit in Lebanon, the Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad denounces the discrimination to which Christians are subdued and vindicates the contribution that they have made together with the Muslims for the history, culture, human rights in the Middle East. Without Christians there is no Arab modernity. An appeal for the abducted Orthodox bishops and a thank you to Lebanon, model of coexistence.
(AsiaNews) - the Eastern Christians of different denominations should be united
if they do not want to suffer a "slow death". They are part of the
historical and cultural fabric of the Middle East and have worked and suffered
with their Muslim brothers for a "common dignity and coexistence".
Their recognition as full-fledged citizens is the way to a modern Arabic world.
These are some of the themes that the Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad, Mar Louis
Sako has treated in the Homily of the mass celebrated yesterday in the
Cathedral of St. Raffaele at Baabda. The Patriarch, in pastoral visit to
Lebanon's Chaldean community, greeted the Apostolic Nuncio, Mons. Gabriele
Caccia, expressing to them his esteem for all that Pope Francis is doing for
peace in the Middle East. The mass was attended by the Lebanese President,
Michel Sleiman, as well as Christian members, Sunnis and Shiites in Parliament,
along with many ambassadors.
Referring to the
Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in the Middle East" of
Benedict XVI, Sako has asked all Christians to "remain firm" in their
roots by educating their children in the faith received and strengthening the
ecumenical work of unity among Christian denominations: without unity, he
stressed, "we have no future."
unity", he continued, "maintains our presence and continuity, our rights and
our role ... There is no future for us if we remain small, regional churches
closed in themselves. Reform is a must. Reform is a matter of life or slow
challenges the Christian world of the Middle East must face, he listed some
"discriminations": the freedom to convert one way [only from other
religions to Islam]; the laws on personal status; "the opacity on Christian history, making the average Muslims
believe that Christians are foreigners, creating a sense of alienation in the
young Christian generations that leads them to emigrate."
all he highlighted "the religious extremist movements and the call by some
of them to humiliate non-Muslims, making a public demand not to participate in
their joys and sorrows." This, added the Patriarch, "leaves us
worried and horrified".
Christians", he explained, "are an essential and integral part of the
fabric of the Orient, its culture and history; our roots are deep and they
stretch to 2000 years and cannot be torn uprooted. We keep the homeland in our
hearts and many of us have sacrificed their lives alongside their Muslim
brothers, to consolidate the warmth of freedom, sovereignty, dignity and coexistence.
We want to live in our countries, in our country, without discrimination
between majority and minority. We do not want to emigrate; we want to live in
dignity as citizens enjoying our rights and exercising our duties".
is no Arab solution", he said, "except by adopting [the right to]
'One Citizenship', given that Arab countries are a mixture of peoples,
nationalities, cultures, languages, religions, ideologies".
Patriarch then talked about the regional situation and, in particular,
"what is happening in Syria ... We wish for the fighting to stop, and for
Syria and the region not to slip deeper into chaos and violence."
"We ask everyone," he added, "to use rationality,
dialogue and understanding in order to achieve the necessary reforms and an
inclusive political process. Fighting does not solve the problem, but deepens
and brings death and destruction".
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