“I hope that the international community does not remain mute and inert in front of such an unacceptable crime, which constitutes an alarming breach in the most basic of human rights.”
This was the appeal that Pope Francis gave regarding the plight of persecuted Christians in the Middle East. The Holy Father said these words during his address following the recitation of the Regina Coeli prayer with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square yesterday.
The Pope welcomed those who were gathered, particularly the members of the Shalom Movement who held a relay race to raise awareness for persecuted Christians around the world. The final leg of the race ended in St. Peter’s Square.
“Your itinerary on this path is over, but the spiritual journey of intense prayer should be continued by all,” the Holy Father said. “The concrete participation and tangible help in the defense and protection of our brothers and our sisters, who are persecuted, exiled, killed, decapitated for the sole fact of being Christians.”
The 78 year old Pontiff called on the international community to not remain silent in front of the murder of countless Christians, particularly in the Middle East.
“I truly hope the international community does not turn its gaze to the other side,” he said.
The Holy Father’s appeal for those who are persecuted for their faith echo his sentiments last month. On March 15th, following the news of the bombing of two churches in Lahore, Pakistan, the Pope prayed that “this persecution against Christians, that the world tries to hide, may end and that there may be peace.”
Concluding his address, Pope Francis called on the faithful to live the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection with “joy and serenity.”
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On ZENIT’s webpage:
For the full text of the Pope’s address, go to: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/regina-coeli-on-the-joy-of-the-resurrection