Italian cardinal urges strong support of Mideast Christians
By Estefania Aguirre
Cardinal Angelo Scola, Archbishop of Milan, at the Synod on Evangelisation, October 10, 2012. Credit: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk.
Cardinal Angelo Scola, Archbishop of Milan, at the Synod on Evangelisation, October 10, 2012. Credit: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk.

.- At a conference of Muslim and Catholic leaders in Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola encouraged greater support for persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

“We need to help Christians more strongly,” Cardinal Scola said at the University of Milan, where the tenth annual meeting of the Oasis International Foundation was held this week.

“We need to support them with real love and a very strong friendship, but also with different means,” the archbishop of Milan told CNA in a June 18 interview.

Cardinal Scola founded Oasis to promote dialogue between Muslims and Christians, and this year's conference discussed the tightrope between secularism and ideology so often walked in the Middle East.

“Above all, many Christians are being pushed to leave their countries, and it’s a very bad thing because Christianity was born in the Middle East,” said Cardinal Scola.

“In certain countries Christians are persecuted, and sometimes they even become martyrs.”

The Cardinal said that although “it’s difficult to imagine the future of Christians in the Middle East, I’m sure they will resist.”

He considered that there is a certain likeness to Jesus when Christians in the Middle East undergo suffering and persecution.

“Once, the previous Latin patriarch, (Michel) Sabbah, explained to me that Jerusalem is the place of Holy Friday. And that seemed to me a very good definition,” Cardinal Scola said during a coffee break of the conference.

“That must provoke all world Christians – above all in Europe and in the United States – to be more assured in witnessing, and offering a real experience of love and support,” the cardinal stated.

He believes that inter-religious dialogue will help the situation and that God is “leading history.”  

Cardinal John O. Onaiyekan gave a presentation at the conference June 17 discussing how Muslims in his country of Nigeria are not a uniform group, and there is much variation in expression of Islam there.

“As Cardinal Onaiyekan said, people in the West need to avoid trying to define Muslims in an intellectual way,” said Cardinal Scola.

“I was impressed with Cardinal Onaiyekan’s speech, who told of the necessity to help Islam in Nigeria to understand the phenomenon of Boko Haram’s terrorism, in order to convince people of the necessity of constantly purifying religion.”

“We must avoid using adjectives (lightly), and enter into contact with the people themselves. And the point of reference must be the common experience of men and women around the world.”

“We are one family of God,” he said, and everyone shares in the fullness of humanity.

He highlighted the need to “avoid revenge and to choose the way of repentance.”

“But it’s a long path and we need to do that in a realistic way.”

The cardinal explained the need to avoid using force to dominate, and that “terrorism is an expression of ideologization and politicization of the faith.”

Cardinal Scola founded Oasis in 2004, after he was asked to do so by seven bishops of Damascus while he was rector of the Pontifical Lateran University. The Damascene bishops hoped for cultural support in the midst of Syrian society.

“They also told me of the necessity to use the Arabic language and to not limit ourselves to English,” he said.

This was because “without Arabic, it would be impossible to enter into real inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue” with Muslims.

“So step by step I found people who wanted to share in the project and we founded this ten years ago, with now around 100 people from around the world,” said the cardinal.

Tags: Islam, Cardinal Scola, Conference

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Synod on the Family October 2014
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Papal Foundation Pilgrimage
Exorcism or prayer of liberation?
First meeting of Commission for Protection of Minors
Paintings of Saint John Paul II and Saint John XXIII

Liturgical Calendar

July 22, 2014

Saint Mary Magdalene

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:24-43


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Mic 7: 14-15, 18-20

Saint of the Day

St. Mary Magdalene »


Homily of the Day

Mt 12:38-42


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: