Vatican City, 20 October 2014 (VIS) – This morning, in the New Synod Hall, there commenced the Ordinary Public Consistory, presided at by Pope Francis, for the canonisation of Blessed Joseph Vaz, priest of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, founder of the Oratory of the Holy Cross of Miracles in Goa. and Maria Cristina of the Immaculate Conception, foundress of the Oblation Sisters of the Holy Sacrament.
The Holy Father wished to dedicate the opening of the Consistory to the Middle East, and in particular, the situation experienced by Christians. Francis thanked those brothers from the region for their presence, remarking that “We share a desire for peace and stability in the Middle East, and the will the promote the resolution of conflicts through dialogue, reconciliation and political commitment. At the same time, we would like to give all the help possible to Christian communities to support them in remaining in the region. … We cannot resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians, who have profess the name of Jesus there for over two thousand years”.
The Pope emphasised his concerns regarding recent events, especially in Iraq and Syria. “We are witnessing a phenomenon of terrorism on an unimaginable scale”, he commented. “Many of our brothers and sisters are brutally persecuted and driven from their homes. It seems that an awareness of the value of human life has been lost; it as is if people do not count and can be sacrificed to other interests. And unfortunately all this encounters indifference on the part of many”.
“This unjust situation requires, aside from our constant prayer, an adequate response on the part of the international community. I am sure that, with the Lord's help, today's meeting will produce valid reflections and suggestions to enable us to help our brothers who suffer, and also to face the crisis of the reduction of the Christian presence in the land where Christianity was born and from where it spread”.