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Cardinal Sandri: We must ask what we can do for persecuted Christians

2017-04-11

Egypt, Iraq, Syria ... Suffering spreads throughout the original lands of Christianity, and every year it seems that the situation is worse than before. That's why the generosity and closeness of other Christians to their Middle Eastern brothers is more important than ever. Cardinal Leonardo Sandri makes an appeal that the collection on Good Friday be in favor of the Holy Land. 

CARD. LEONARDO SANDRI
Prefect, Congregation of the Eastern Churches
"I think that in this very tragic moment, a collection for the Holy Land has become much more necessary and calls on all Catholics. I would also ask all the Christians of the world to express a special solidarity with them."

It was originally Pope Paul VI who, with a special intuition, determined that the collections in each parish on Good Friday will be for the Christians in the land of Jesus. 

CARD. LEONARDO SANDRI
Prefect, Congregation of the Eastern Churches 
"I believe that each one of us has to stand before the crucified Christ and ask ourselves, 'I see all this news, I see all this reality, I witness what the media is continuously putting before our eyes. They are human beings, our brothers, with such immense suffering. And I, Lord Jesus, what do I do to contribute, or bring an ounce of peace to our brethren?'”

Thus, the cardinal invites the economic contribution to symbolize concern for Christians. In many cases, are victims of wars, persecuted, discriminated, or even killed for their profession in Christ. 

CARD. LEONARDO SANDRI
Prefect, Congregation of the Eastern Churches
"We cannot, for example, not say that there isn't persecution towards the bishops and priests who have been abducted, to the priests or Christians who have been kidnapped and then released. Or Christians like the Copts of Egypt who have been murdered, and whose blood has been mixed with the Holy Land, which is also the land of Egypt."


In addition to Egypt and the Holy Land, funds are reserved for Christians in Jordan, Cyprus, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq. This contribution wants to improve the standards of life in these countries, so that Christians are not forced to leave. Unfortunately, however, it is increasingly difficult to stay.


Cardinal Sandri also points out that along with violence as an extreme form of persecution, persecution is also present in limiting Christian's religious freedom, or considering them second-class citizens.

CARD. LEONARDO SANDRI
Prefect for the Congregation of the Eastern Churches 001J500 13.20-13-50
"You do not want to talk so much about a minority or a majority, but about citizenship. Every citizen of a country has the same rights and the same obligations to respect the laws and the community in which they live. But the State must recognize the dignity and the possibility of living one's faith by exercising it in the respect of existing laws."

However, it's not all negative. The Holy Land is a living example of the Gospel, and local Christians are eager to receive visitors. For this reason, Cardinal Sandri asks that Christians help by making pilgrimages to these lands, which the best way to tell Christians in these countries that they have not been forgotten.