.- Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Archbishop Fouad Twal will be visiting the United Kingdom to speak about the plight of Christians in the Holy Land. A bishop from Pakistan will also speak about the position of Christians in his country.
Patriarch Twal was invited to the September event by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), an international Catholic pastoral charity for persecuted and suffering Christians.
Speaking with ACN from Rome, the Patriarch said he looked forward to his visit.
"It will be an opportunity to share with so many friends the sufferings and joys that we experience in the land of Christ."
He told ACN the visit would build on the success of Pope Benedict XVI’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land. During the pontiff’s visit, the Pope pleaded with Christians not to emigrate.
Forty years ago Christians in the Holy Land made up 20 percent of the population, but now they comprise less than 1.5 percent.
Patriarch Twal emphasized that poverty and discrimination against Christians persists in the region.
"If only the faithful are given the chance to lead a normal life, they will stay in the Holy Land. As long as they cannot lead a normal life, they will be tempted to leave."
The Patriarch also thanked ACN for its support for the faithful in the Middle East.
In related news, Bishop of Faisalabad, Pakistan Joseph Coutts will address ACN’s annual Westminster Event on October 17. He thanked ACN for its ongoing support for the Church amid continuing hardship among Christians and other minorities.
ACN’s U.K. director Neville Kyrke-Smith said it was "critical" that people are informed about what Christians are "enduring for their faith today in the Middle East and Pakistan."
"We are so glad that Patriarch Twal and Bishop Coutts can give us their first-hand testimonies."