It’s time to stop talking about persecution of Christians in the Middle East and time to do something to stop the violence. That was the message of a recent conference on Christians in the Middle East held in Bari, Italy, and organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio, a Catholic lay movement.
Marco Impagliazzo, the president of Sant’Egidio, floated a different idea: the creation of an international police force capable of intervening in emergency situations when minority groups such as Christians are under assault.
As a model, Impagliazzo mentioned UNIFIL, a peacekeeping force under the Italian flag and the United Nations that is currently working in Lebanon.
Also at the Bari gathering, Gregory III, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, called for “an ecumenical initiative of all Churches, able to work out a peace plan to bring to the common table of the great powers.”
Argentinian Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, who heads the Vatican’s Congregation for Eastern Church, said the indifference and inaction regarding the “true and real dismantling” of the centuries-old coexistence of Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Middle East is “a scandal.”
Christians of the region “deserve our solidarity, our gratitude, and every possible support,” Sandri said.