Ahead of Holy Week, Bishop Declan Lang, chair of the Bishops’ International Affairs department, has issued a reminder that the Christians living in the lands of Christ should be held in prayer.

Starved of pilgrim visitors to the Holy sites, and facing the daily realities of conflict and occupation, the Christians, as Pope Francis puts it, are suffering “the economic inequalities and regional tensions that threaten the stability of these lands.”

Bishop Lang is asking Christians to reaffirm their commitment to justice and peace in Middle East.

He also calls on our leaders to “increase their support for peacebuilding, humanitarian relief, and the protection of human dignity, while forsaking narrow political or economic interests, including the sale of arms which only fuel conflict.”

Statement

“As we approach Easter, it is important to remember our sisters and brothers in the Holy Land, who continue to face the daily realities of conflict and occupation. This is a particularly important moment to extend our assistance to the Christian community, which has been deprived of the encounter and support of pilgrimages for more than a year.

“We also hold in our prayers the whole Middle East including Iraq, where Pope Francis’ recent journey has brought hope to those rebuilding their country; Lebanon, which is confronted by simultaneous economic and political crises; Syria, which has now endured over a decade of war; and Yemen, where one of the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophes continues to unfold.

“Pope Francis has said that such challenges ‘call for cooperation on a global scale in order to address, among other things, the economic inequalities and regional tensions that threaten the stability of these lands.’

“We call upon our own leaders to increase their support for peacebuilding, humanitarian relief, and the protection of human dignity, while forsaking narrow political or economic interests, including the sale of arms which only fuel conflict.

“As Christians let us reaffirm our own commitment to justice and peace in Middle East, the birthplace of our faith.”

Bishop Declan Lang
Chair, Catholic Bishops’ Conference Department of International Affairs

CBCEW