Pope's Address to the Consistory of Cardinals

«We are witnessing a phenomenon of terrorism in an unimaginable dimension»

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This morning, at 9:00, in the Synod Hall, during the celebration of Terce, Pope Francis held an Ordinary Public Consistory for the canonization of the Blesseds: Giuseppe Vaz, priest of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, founder of the Oratory of the Miraculous Holy Cross in Goa and apostle of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Canara (India) and Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception (also known as Adelaide Brando), foundress of the Congregation of the Oblation Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, and to inform the members of the College of Cardinals on the current situation of Christians in the Middle East and the Church’s commitment to peace in the region. The following are the words pronounced by the Holy Father in the course of the Consistory:

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Your Eminences, Dear Patriarchs and brothers in the Episcopate,

After the conclusion of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the family, I wish to dedicate this Consistory, as well as several causes of canonization, to another issue that is close to my heart, namely the Middle East and, in particular, the situation of the Christians in the region. I am grateful to you for your presence.

We all share the desire for peace and stability in the Middle East and the will to encourage the resolution of the conflicts through dialogue, reconciliation and political commitment. At the same time, we would like to give the greatest possible support to the Christian communities to maintain their stay in the region.

As I have had reiterated on several occasions, we cannot resign ourselves to think of a Middle East without Christians, who for 2,000 years have professed the name of Jesus. Recent events, especially in Iraq and Syria, are very worrying. We are witnessing a phenomenon of terrorism in an unimaginable dimension. So many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted and have had to leave their homes in a brutal manner. It seems that the awareness of the value of human life has been lost, it seems that the person does not count and can be sacrificed for other interests. All of this, unfortunately, because of the indifference of so many.

This unjust situation requires, in addition to our constant prayers, an adequate response also by the international community. I am sure that, with the help of the Lord, that from this meeting today, valid reflections and suggestions may come forth to help our brothers and sisters who are suffering and to also confront the tragedy of the decrease of the Christian presence in the land where it was born and where Christianity was spread from.

[Translation by Junno Arocho Esteves]
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