“Libya is not a closed chapter for the Church, we live in a difficult time alongside the country,” says bishop of Tripoli, George Bugeja
“We have to pray a lot for the unity of Muslims, who are even more divided than us Christians. There is good for them and for us in their unity”
This edition of Oasis is dedicated to the Christians of the East and to what they have meant and mean, both for the Church and for the world. For the Church because the testimony that they give today (not infrequently to the point of martyrdom) constitutes a challenge to all believers, as Cardinal Scola reminds us in h...
There is only one word capable of capturing what is happening to the Christians in the Middle East: martyrdom. The unarmed witness exposes the jihadist’s counter-testimony and reveals the virus that has destroyed whole countries, from Syria to Iraq: the quest for victory at any price through the annihilation of those who are different. Distracted and narcissistically self-absorbed for far too long, Europe now is powerless.
A look at the history of Christians in the Arab world shows a fruitful dialectic between rootedness in their own tradition and openness to other cultures. High points have been the creation of an interreligious humanism in tenth-century Baghdad and the ecclesial renewal during the Catholic Reformation that paved the way for the Arab awakening. Today, as previously, however, such interaction is only possible when Muslim regimes are open to otherness and not caught up in an introverted and obsessive sectarianism.
The failure of the imposing movement for democracy and citizenship that began with the revolution in January 2011 leaves Egypt disillusioned by the return to the old, ultra-nationalist and securitarian practices of a state brought to its knees by Islamist violence. Will the new power and the Muslim and Christian institutions have the lucidity and ability to exorcise their communities’ old demons and give the people reasons to hope before too long?
According to the patriarch of the Maronites, Middle Eastern Christians are paying the price of the sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shi‘ites. Lebanon has not yet descended into open warfare, but Christian politicians have allowed themselves to be drawn into the sectarian rivalry that threatens the very existence of the country and its formula. The situation is worsened by the devastating effects of the war in Syria and the unmanageable influx of refugees. Lebanon need to be saved so that it can fulfill its historic mission.
The treatment reserved by the Islamic State to the Christian minorities is indicative of the type of relationship that the “Caliphate” enters into with its own ideological points of reference: apparently an intransigent application of sharia but, in reality, a selective and sometimes delirious interpretation that is directed at presenting itself as the absolute and eschatological alternative to the West, in keeping with the purest of “friend-enemy” dialectics. Medieval theocracy espouses modern totalitarianism and gives itself over to the will to power.