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Pope sends condolences to Manchester after attack

May 23, 2017. After the deadly terrorist attack at Victoria Station in Manchester, England, the pope has sent his condolences to the victims and their families.

Vatican organizes meeting to look at what can be done to help refugees from Iraq and Syria

2015-08-25

Christianity is suffering in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria. Amid the wave of death and destruction, the world seems indifferent. One year after the massive exodus of Christians from Iraq, Pope Francis issued a message, calling on the international community to take action and denounce these crimes. 

The Vatican is responding to the crisis, but it recognizes that more still needs to be done. The Vatican's Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which is the branch that grants humanitarian aid, has invited all charitable Christian organizations to Rome on September 17th, to asses what needs to be done to improve the help they give to the persecuted.
 

GIAMPIETRO DAL TOSO 
Pontifical Council Cor Unum
"It's very disappointing to see that the human aspect of this crisis is not the priority, but rather it's politics that's in first place. Politics and military  action are the topics of discussion. It's important for the world to see that behind this war, there are people suffering. The numbers are staggering and alarming.” 

The Vatican's Pontifical Council Cor Unum has had a presence in the area since the crisis struck. It's also trying to put an international spotlight on the struggle of the persecuted. That's exactly why it set up this pavilion in Milan's EXPO, showcasing the nightmare some of these Christian families have endured over the last year. So far, more than 600,000 people have visited the pavilion. 

GIAMPIETRO DAL TOSO 
Pontifical Council Cor Unum
"Donations that have been given in the Holy See's pavilion in Milan, will be used to help educate refugee children from Syria and Iraq  who are now living in camps in Jordan.” 

Now under threats of the Islamic State, more and more Christians are being forced to flee their homes. Ultimately, the presence of Christians in the area is dwindling fast. 

GIAMPIETRO DAL TOSO 
Pontifical Council Cor Unum
"It's a conflict that has different dimensions. On one hand, we have refugees who flee from Syria and go to Jordan. Then, we have religious minorities who were forced to flee their homes in Iraq-they also make their way to Jordan to look for refuge. So, in a way those two wars meet in a foreign land.” 

Jordan is the country that is welcoming the highest number of refugees in the region. The nation has a population of 6 million people and it houses more than 2 million refugees. 

On September 17th, when different Christian groups meet in Rome to assess what needs to be done and how they can improve their assistance, it won't just be charitable organizations to weigh in. There were also be nuncios, Orthodox representatives from Syria and Lebanon and members of the United Nations. 


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