06/24/2011, 00.00
VATICAN-MIDDLE EAST
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Pope urges “every possible form of mediation" for the Middle East and North Africa

Assistance to those fleeing, support to maintain the Christian presence in the region, so they can live as fellow citizens and not as foreigners, recognizing their equal dignity and real freedom.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - That "every possible form of mediation" is explored to stop the violence in North Africa and the Middle East, so that peace returns "respecting the rights of both individuals and communities." This was the prayer Benedict XVI raised today on receiving the participants of the Meeting of the Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (ROACO) and in doing so he once again appealed for an end to conflicts in favour of the path of dialogue.

"I pray - his words - that the necessary emergency assistance will be forthcoming, but above all I pray that every possible form of mediation will be explored, so that violence may cease and social harmony and peaceful coexistence may everywhere be restored, with respect for the rights of individuals as well as communities. Fervent prayer and reflection will help us at the same time to read the signs emerging from the present season of toil and tears: may the Lord of history always turn them to the common good".

The prayer of the Pope comes a little more than a month on from his exhortation addressed to the Syrian ambassador, when he said that "global solution" is needed in the Middle East that "should not harm the interests of any of the parties involved and be the fruit of a compromise, not unilateral decisions imposed by force" that "do not solve anything. "

Today, referring to "changes that are occurring in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East, which is cause for concern throughout the world," the Pope said he was being kept informed by the Coptic Catholic Patriarch (of Egypt), the Maronite Patriarch (Lebanese) from the Pontifical representatives in Jerusalem and the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, from congregations and agencies that "will be able to assess the situation on the ground for the Church and the peoples of that region, which is so important for world peace and stability”. The Pope expresses his closeness, even through you, to those who are suffering and those who are trying desperately to escape, thereby increasing the flow of migration that remains without hope. "

To ROACO, finally, he recommended "ecclesial charity" for the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East "to sustain the Christian presence. I ask you to do everything you can - even by interesting the public authorities with whom you are dealing internationally – so that in the East where the pastors and faithful of Christ were born may live not as' foreigners' but as' fellow citizens, that the sons and daughters of the Eastern Churches may bear witness to Jesus Christ, as the saints of the past have before them. The East is rightly their earthly homeland. It is there that they are required to promote, without distinction, the good of all, through their faith. To all those who profess this faith an equal dignity and real freedom must be recognized, to allow a fruitful ecumenical and inter-religious collaboration. "
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