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Thursday, June 21, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2007 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received participants in the annual Meeting of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (ROACO), telling them that he shared their "pain and concern for the delicate situation affecting vast areas of the Middle East."

  "Peace," said the Pope, "becomes even more fragile because of injustices, old and new. Thus it is extinguished altogether and gives way to violence which often degenerates into more or less open war until it ends up, as in our own time, as an urgent international problem."

  "I appeal to the hearts of those who have specific responsibilities, that they may accept the vital duty of guaranteeing peace for everyone, without distinction, freeing [peace] from the mortal illness of religious, cultural, historical or geographical discrimination."

  Benedict XVI repeated his assurances that "the Holy Land, Iraq and Lebanon are present, with the urgency and constancy they deserve, in the prayers and activities of the Apostolic See and of the entire Church." He also called on the Congregation for Oriental Churches and its associated institutions to ensure that their "intervention in favor of so many of our brothers and sisters becomes more incisive."

  To His Beatitude Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, who was present at the audience, the Pope renewed his condolences "for the barbarous killing of a defenseless priest and three sub-deacons in Iraq at the end of Sunday liturgy on June 3. The entire Church accompanies all her sons and daughters with affection and admiration, and supports them at this time of true martyrdom in the name of Christ."

  The Holy Father thanked members of ROACO for their collaboration with the Congregation for Oriental Churches, encouraging them to continue their endeavors, "so that the priceless support you give to the witness of ecclesial charity may be fully developed in the community. ... Teamwork and collaboration is always a guarantee of a more ordered and evenhanded service."

  "As we appeal to the Lord to speed the day of full unity among Christians, and the long-awaited moment of serene inter-religious coexistence animated by mutual respect, we ask Him to bless our efforts and to illuminate us so that what we do is never to the detriment but always to the advantage of the ecclesial community. May He make us attentive so that, rejecting all forms of indifference, we never forget, in exercising charity, the mission of the local Catholic community."

  Benedict XVI concluded his talk by highlighting how "in prayer we will always find the true source of commitment to charity, and in prayer we will verify its authenticity."
AC/.../ROACO                            VIS 20070621 (450)

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