ASIA/LEBANON - Souraya Bechealany: Christians in the Middle East are not a "minority" and do not need "protections"

Friday, 4 October 2019 middle east   oriental churches   ecumenicalism   religious minorities   pope francis  

Warsaw (Agenzia Fides) - Christian communities in the Middle East "are not minorities and do not need protections". This is what Professor Souraya Bechealany, Secretary General of the Middle East Council, MECC in a speech addressed during the opening session of the Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy International Conference, held in Warsaw (Poland) on Thursday 3 October. At the Conference, an annual event organized under the patronage of the Polish government, politicians and activists from organizations involved in the defense of human rights and interreligious dialogue, from about thirty countries, were also present among the speakers and conference participants. In his speech, followed by that of Polish Foreign Minister Yatsek Chabotovic, Souraya Bechealany - Christian Maronite, professor of theology at the Saint Joseph University in Beirut - also underlined that the time has come to recognize "that there is no peace without justice", and stressed the urgency of "tackling the pathological phenomenon of religious intolerance at its root.
On the same day of Thursday 3 October, Pope Francis received Mike Pompeo (in the photo), Secretary of State of the United States of America at the Vatican. Some US media, based on official statements by the US administration, reported that the Pope and the US High Representative, in their talks, registered full agreement especially with regard to the urgent need to "protect" Christian minorities worldwide , and "in particular" the Christians in the Middle East. Pope Francis and Mike Pompeo – in a statement Morgan Ortagus, a spokesman for the US State Department - said that they "reaffirmed the commitment of the United States and the Holy See to promote religious freedom throughout the world, and in particular the protection of Christian communities in the Middle East". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 4/10/2019)