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Franciscan leader: ‘the Middle East is in flames’

August 28, 2014

The priest who serves as Franciscan superior in the Holy Land and several Middle Eastern nations told an Italian audience that the Arab Spring has brought radical change to the region.

“The Middle East that we have known since the [1900s], one which was born from the ruins of the old Ottoman Empire, from the end of various colonialisms and the birth of nation states, is ended,” said Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa. “Now begins a new period, the direction of which, however, we are not yet able to comprehend.”

“The main concern at this moment lies in the fear of the rise to power of the fundamentalist Islamic movements, especially, but not exclusively, in Syria and Iraq,” he continued. “This fanaticism has to be stopped, even with force, if necessary. The use of force, however, without taking into consideration the idea of reconstruction at all levels (political, religious, economic) will not solve anything.”

“The Middle East is in flames,” he added. “The evil that affronts us as Christians challenges us to be even more Christian and to do so to the end. It is in these circumstances that we actually live our Christian vocation in a complete manner, without escaping and without fear.”


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  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Sep. 01, 2014 8:07 PM ET USA

    The U.S. opened Pandora's Box. Now the horrors are unfolding. May God bless the poor, suffering Christians in the Middle East.