Benedict urges support for Arab Christians to stay put

After meeting with bishops from Arab regions on Friday, the Pope has called upon all Catholics to help Arab Christians to remain in their countries.

Catholic News Agency reports that the bishops who spoke with Benedict XVI are from the Conference of Latin Bishops in the Arab Regions (CELRA), whose president is His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins.

Benedict recalled how their episcopal conference "comprises many different situations in which the faithful, natives of many different countries, often live in small communities within societies chiefly composed of believers from other religions".

He reassured them that he shares "the concerns and hopes" of their people, noting how "the constant cycle of violence, insecurity and hatred makes coexistence very difficult, and can give rise to fears for the survival of your communities".

The Holy Father addressed the tendency for Christians to leave their countries in search of a better life: “it is necessary to give firm encouragement and support to those who decide to remain faithful to their land, in order to ensure it does not become an archaeological site without an ecclesial life," he said.

Pope: Catholics around the world must help Arab Christians (Catholic News Agency 18/1/08)

21 Jan 2008