11/25/2017, 10.32
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Pope: The Cross unites in persecution the Christian Churches of the East

Francis receives the joint commission for theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East. "Brutal violence, perpetrated in the name of fundamentalist extremism" is rooted more easily in contexts of great poverty, injustice and social exclusion.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Persecutions and violence "perpetrated in the name of fundamentalist extremism" against the Assyrian Church of the East and the other Christian Churches of the region evoke the Cross " Easter light in a world enveloped by so much darkness",  "hope and peace to come". This was Pope Francis’ reflection in his greeting yesterday to the members of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East on the occasion of the signing of a Joint Declaration, which establishes "a happy conclusion the phase regarding sacramental life" in which "the sign of the cross is referred to as “an explicit symbol of unity among all sacramental celebrations”".

"When we look at the cross or make the sign of the cross," said Francis, "we are also invited to remember sacrifices endured in union with Jesus and to remain close to those who today bear a heavy cross upon their shoulders. The Assyrian Church of the East, along with other Churches and many of our brothers and sisters in the region, is afflicted by persecution, and is a witness to brutal acts of violence perpetrated in the name of fundamentalist extremism. Situations of such tragic suffering take root more easily in contexts of great poverty, injustice and social exclusion, largely caused by instability, often fuelled by external interests, and by conflicts that have also led in recent times to situations of dire need, giving rise to real cultural and spiritual deserts, within which it becomes easy to manipulate people and incite them to hatred. Such suffering has recently been exacerbated by the tragedy of the violent earthquake on the border between Iraq, the homeland of your Church, and Iran, where your communities have also long been established, as well as in Syria, Lebanon and India".

"As a result, particularly during periods of greater suffering and deprivation, large numbers of the faithful have had to leave their lands and emigrate to other countries, thus increasing the diaspora community, with the many trials it faces. Arriving in some societies, émigrés encounter challenges stemming from an often difficult integration, and a marked secularization, which can hinder their efforts to preserve the spiritual riches of their traditions, and even prevent their witness of faith. In all of this, the constant repetition of the sign of the cross is a reminder that the Lord of mercy never abandons his brothers and sisters, but embraces their wounds within his own."

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