Pope Francis once again denounced the atrocious situation in the Middle East on Sunday, promising closeness to the victims of kidnappings and violence and praying for a prompt end to the “intolerable brutality” brought upon the region by Islamic State militants.
“Dramatic accounts continue to arrive from Syria and Iraq, the Pope said before a crowd of tens of thousands gathered in Saint Peter’s Square, “of incidents of violence, abductions of persons and abuse suffered by Christians and other groups.”
“We assure those involved,” he said, “that we don’t forget them but we are close to them and pray insistently so that as soon as possible there may be an end to this intolerable brutality of which they are victims.”
The Pope’s words after the weekly prayer of the Angelus followed on a week of daily reports of kidnappings of Christians in Syria, with numbers now thought to total some 350 persons, 15 of whom have already been murdered.
“I offered the final Mass of the spiritual exercises last Friday for this intention,” Francis said.
The Pope also sent out a personal appeal, asking everyone according to their possibilities “to do what they can to alleviate the sufferings of those who suffer these trials often just because of the faith they profess.”
Francis also called for a moment of prayer in silence, to plead for the intentions of “our brothers and sisters who suffer for the faith in Syria and Iraq.”
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