The Congregation for the Eastern Churches released a statement on the dramatic events unfolding in the ongoing conflict in Syria. Violence against Christians has been on the rise as evidenced by the recent kidnapping of a Jesuit priest last month.
Fr. Paolo dall’Oglio, an Italian priest who has worked in Syria for the past 30 years, was kidnapped in July by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, a militant rebel group that has ties to Al-Qaeda.
Pope Francis remembered Fr. Dall’Oglio during a Mass he celebrated last week on the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola. The provincial for the Jesuits in the Middle East also expressed his concerns for the safety of Fr. Dall’Oglio in a statement released yesterday.
In the message released by the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, president of the congregation, conveyed his “closeness in prayer” to the Superior General and to all the Religious of the Society of Jesus. The congregation also voiced its concern for the safety of several bishops and priests who have been abducted in the past several months.
“Together with the churches of the region, he remembers the absolute silence that weighs on the fate of two bishops and two priests kidnapped months ago, like many others, Syrian and foreign, in the same painful condition,” the statement read.
“Let us beseech the Lord, the All-Holy Mother of God, to end war and peace be returned to beloved Syria and to all the peoples of the Middle East.”