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A conviction in faith

· Cardinal Leonardo Sandri on his return from his journey to Lebanon with the Pope ·

A Church not like a museum but alive and creative: this is the face of the Catholic community in the Middle East as Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, described it on his return from Lebanon where he had “had the joy of being beside the Pope”, he said in the interview he granted our newspaper, “in these historic days. I saw the image of a flock never frightened by  howling wolves, rediscovering the full force and courage that it receives from the dependable closeness of a caring Pastor who does not hesitate to set out with it on the journey, when the threat draws closer”. He then expressed the hope that the Church in Lebanon “might have the real and concrete possibility of continuing to bear her important witness in communion”.

Is Christianity really in danger of disappearing from the Middle East?

It is a real risk; and not only for Catholics, but also for the Orthodox. The confrontation is with the overwhelming force of the Muslim majority. Yet, I am confident. True Islam has always been distinguished for its respect for and tolerance towards others. Perhaps something more is required, something that goes even further and allows the Church a more active presence in daily life. Moreover, the actual history of the Middle Eastern countries would be incomprehensible were the presence of the Catholic Church, of Christian Churches to be lacking.

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St. Peter’s Square

Jan. 21, 2018

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