<div>Francis recalled the recent trip to Iraq by a delegation of ROACO, during which they met with displaced persons from the Nineveh Plain and with small groups from Syria. Francis reflected that, “In those eyes that asked for help and pleaded for peace and to return home, there was Jesus Himself Who looked at you, asking for that charity that makes us Christians.”
As bloodshed continues to plague the Middle East, Pope Francis is urging continued efforts of Christian charity and has condemned that which tramples human dignity.
Speaking to the members of the Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (ROACO), the Holy Father decried how the lands of the Middle East not only have been marred by years of conflict, but also “by the footprints of those who seek refuge and [have been] soaked with the blood of many men and women, including numerous Christians persecuted for their faith.”
“Every form of assistance, so as not to fall into the trap of uncompromising efficiency or mere aid that does not promote persons or peoples, must always be reborn from this blessing of the Lord Who reaches us when we have the courage to look at the situations and the brothers before us,” he said.
Regardless, the Pope underscored, “The world seems to have become aware of the tragedy of recent months, and has opened its eyes, taking account of the millennial presence of Christians in the Middle East.”
Initiatives for raising awareness and offering aid to them and to others unjustly affected by the violence, the Holy Father noted, have flourished.
Yet, Francis continued, “further efforts must be made to eliminate what would appear to be tacit agreements by which the lives of thousands and thousands of families – women, men, children, elderly – in the balance of interests appear to weigh less than petroleum and weapons.”
Before concluding his address, Pope Francis encouraged them to carry out their service of Christian charity, “to condemn all that tramples human dignity.”