The plight of persecuted Christian families in the Middle East

The plight of persecuted Christian families in the Middle East was addressed during the Synod on the Family in Rome, October 5-25. Synod Fathers acknowledged the particular and urgent circumstances that so many Catholic families face each day.

The Fathers expressed fraternal sorrow for families forced to flee their homes, and gratitude for those nations that have welcomed refugee families with generosity.

To better understand the the difficulties endured, Catholic World Report recently interviewed the Titular Bishop of Tarsus of the Maronites, Antoine Nabil Andari, Vicaire Patriarcal Maronite de Jounieh, Lebanon.

CWR: Can you please describe the political and spiritual situation in the Middle East?

Bishop Andari: You know, in Lebanon and in the Middle East, it’s been many years now that we’ve been living in a situation that is not normal, an instability in part from the lack of security, economic, and social.

This began in Lebanon following the 1975 War, and continues in Syria, Iraq and other Middle-Eastern countries. And this has repercussions on the residents, on both the civil and ecclesial societies, and in a special way on the family.

Families are chased from their homes, they are displaced, and therefore there are repercussions to this, sometimes breakups, or else there is emigration which is in large part that of persecuted Christians because of their faith.

For this reason these families must be supported, not only locally but also internationally, whether political or by the Church. In the current Synod on the Family, this approach is taken.

We speak of the challenges. In terms of social, cultural and anthropological challenges, we speak of the refugees, the persecuted, everyone. Yet how does one realize, implement this support? For it demands a welcoming, an assistance, a solidarity.

Therefore these three essential points—how do we realize them on the ground? For this, we need support from everyone. Society and the Church can do something. But not only the Church alone.

Diplomatic support is also required, by disseminating information, supporting the Christian presence in the Middle East which, without Christ, without Christians, is not the cradle of Christianity. Continue reading


  • The Catholic World Report, from an interview by Mary Jo Anderson, a Catholic journalist and speaker whose articles and commentaries on politics, religion, and culture appear in a variety of publications.
  • Image: CDN
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