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Pope voices 'anxiety' over Arab Spring unrest

Catholic World News - June 24, 2011

The violence and unrest that has spread through the Middle East during the “Arab Spring” has been “a source of anxiety throughout the world,” Pope Benedict XVI said on June 24.

The Pope said that he prays “that pray that every possible form of mediation will be explored, so that violence may cease and social harmony and peaceful coexistence may everywhere be restored, with respect for the rights of individuals as well as communities.”

Pope Benedict made these remarks in an address to participants in an annual conference organized by the Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (ROACO), an umbrella group for Catholic agencies working in the region. ROACO has dedicated its meeting this week to a discussion of the implications of the “Arab Spring” unrest.

The Holy Father thanked the ROACO members for their work to ensure that "the pastors and faithful of Christ can remain in the East where they were born, not as strangers but as citizens who bear witness to Jesus Christ as the saints of the Eastern churches did before them."

In an unmistakable reference to concerns about the exodus of Christians from the region, the Pope said: "The East is their earthly homeland. It is there that they are called today to promote, without distinction, the good of all mankind."

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