Christians in Middle East facing 'dire' situation

Archbishop Paul Gallagher (ACBC)

Christians are more persecuted now than at any time in recent history. This is the considered, and surely accurate, view of the Vatican’s foreign minister, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, writes Greg Sheridan. Source: The Australian.

Archbishop Gallagher is a friendly, thoughtful, softly spoken Englishman, a former papal representative to Canberra and not remotely given to dramatic language. However, the reality he sketches is stark and undeniable: “The situation is pretty dire for Christians in the Middle East. It’s pretty dire for many people but Christians are in a particularly vulnerable situation. They have been attacked by ISIS (Islamic State) and other Islamic fundamentalist groups. They are being challenged by numerical loss, the loss of places of worship, the loss of people’s lives.

“We hope that Christians will return to their homes in Syria and Iraq. The Holy See has tried to add its voice to their defence, tried to mobilise agencies to help them and tried diplomatically and politically to defend their rights.”

Archbishop Gallagher argues, somewhat optimistically I think, that the persecution of Christians is slowly gaining wider understanding: “In Europe the issue is gaining more attention, certainly in the European Parliament. There was the (US) congressional resolution on the genocide of Christians.

“But there are certainly places where it’s difficult to add one’s voice to the defence of Christians. Christianity is a part of the Middle East. It is the birthplace of Christianity. It was the cradle of the religion. A Middle East without Christianity is not really a Middle East we could recognise.

“Christians in many parts of the world are facing unprecedented challenges and threats, in the intolerance in the Middle East and some parts of Asia. And it is quite difficult in the political correctness of the West to be a Christian.

“The West is a very secularised society at the moment. But there are little chinks. Through immigration people are realising that religion does count for more. You see more understanding in diplomatic services that if you’re going to understand people, you have to understand religion.”

– Greg Sheridan is The Australian's foreign editor.

FULL STORY

Genocide of Christians is scandal of the Middle East (The Australian

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