Pope Francis has sent a message of solidarity to refugees, which forcefully exhorted the international community to react in the face of the dramatic situation in the Middle East.
The Holy Father sent the letter to the Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan, Archbishop Maroun Lahham, who traveled to Jordan to mark the first anniversary of the arrival of Iraqi refugees in Jordan, on Aug. 8, 2014. Archbishop Lahham will participate in various events and meetings and will visit some shelters for refugees.
The Holy Father’s message began by noting his use of the occasion of the visit to reach “with a word of hope” those oppressed by violence and forced to abandon their homes and their land.
The Pope reaffirmed his desire to speak out against “the atrocious, inhumane and inexplicable persecution” of those who are “victims of fanaticism and intolerance,” even as this treatment is often overlooked and silenced.
“They are the martyrs of today, humiliated and discriminated against for their fidelity to the Gospel,” he said. He went on to remind them how the Church doesn’t forget nor abandon her children exiled on account of their faith. Francis thanked the refugees for their witness.
To those who have been helping the hundreds of thousands forced to flee, the Pope said, “You proclaim the resurrection of Christ,” and noted their help has illuminated moments of dark existence. “May the Lord reward you, as only He can do, with the abundance of His gifts,” Francis wrote.
May world public opinion, the Pope said, “be ever more attentive, sensitive and participatory in face of the persecutions carried out in dealings with Christians and more, in general, of religious minorities.”
“I renew my hope that the International Community will not remain silent and inert in face of such unacceptable crimes, which constitute a worrying disregard of the most essential human rights and impedes the richness of coexistence among peoples, cultures and faiths,” he said.
Pope Francis concluded by asking for their prayers, offering his Apostolic Blessing, and entrusting them to Mary’s protection.
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On ZENIT’s website:
For the full text of the Pope’s message, go to: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-message-to-iraqi-refugees-in-jordan