On Middle East Visit, Pope Will Find a Diminished Christian Population – Nicholas Casey
(dailyalert.org, May 23, 2014)
Pope Francis arrives in the region on Saturday for a three-day tour. The pope arrives on Saturday in Jordan, visits Bethlehem in the West Bank on Sunday, and goes on Monday to Jerusalem.
Pope Francis will find a Middle East where “moderation and stability that existed for Christians for centuries is now gone,” said Justus Weiner, a human-rights lawyer and scholar at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. “People now look over their shoulder and see if their relatives have decamped, and that creates a panic,” he said.
Pope Francis has spoken out a number of times in defense of Christians in the region, calling for the right of Christians to “live peacefully in the places where they were born.” (Wall Street Journal)
See also Middle Eastern Christians: Battered, Violated, and Abused, Do They Have Any Chance of Survival? – Justus Reid Weiner
Throughout the Middle East, the birthplace of Christianity, Christians are facing pervasive and systematic persecution that is steadily increasing in its intensity and scope. A century ago, Christians represented some 20% of the population of the Middle East; today, that figure is estimated at 4%. If Muslim states continue to violate the basic human rights obligations incumbent upon them, Christian life may cease to exist in the very place of its birth. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)