Cardinal Sandri: “Indifference and Inaction” on Middle East “a Scandal”

Vatican Radio, April 30, 2015

The centuries-old coexistence of Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Middle East is experiencing a “true and real dismantling”, according to Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches.

The Cardinal was speaking on Wednesday at a symposium in Bari organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio, with the theme “Christians in the Middle East: What Future?”.

He compared the “indifference and inaction” of the international community to the tragedies which have for years “consumed” Syria and Iraq to the washing of Pilate’s hands before the crucifixion of Christ.

Although he acknowledged the complexity of finding a solution to the crisis - including those touching on the internal relations of the different elements of the Muslim faithful – Cardinal Sandri said it was “a scandal” that vested interests and balance-of-power politics is being put before the survival of people.

He said the Christians of the region “deserve our solidarity, our gratitude, and every possible support.”

Cardinal Sandri also added the Israeli-Palestinian question must be addressed in any discussion of stability in the Middle East, saying that all countries deserve “to exist, to be protected, and not be under threat.”

“It is the task of Christian pastors throughout the Middle East to help their faithful to grow in this awareness, pouring on the wounds of even the recent past, the abundant oil of consolation, forgiveness and mercy,” he said.

“If things do not move in this direction, we do not doubt that the pockets of ‘power gone mad,’ which is ISIS, will multiply, also because they are supported with arms and other resources from various interested factions,” said Cardinal Sandri.

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