Israel’s top Catholic cleric bemoans destruction of Christian Mideast

Speaking in Israel, the new top Catholic cleric mourned the plight of Christians in the rest of the Middle East. 

In his first pre-Christmas address, the new top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land bemoaned the destruction of the Christian world in Syria and Iraq.

“Syria and Iraq are destroyed” and the plight of the region’s Christians is tragic, Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa said on Monday. “Wars and the way of force have not been able to bring peace and justice, it only brought more violence, death and destruction.”

Pizzaballa took office earlier this year as the apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate, the temporary chief clergyman to the local Catholic population. As caretaker of Jerusalem’s Latin Patriarchate, he has made it his main task to promote dialogue among Christians in the Holy Land as well as between Christians and others faith groups.

The number of Christians in the Middle East has significantly diminished in recent years as a result of Muslim persecution in the region.

The Italian-born Pizzaballa, a Franciscan priest, replaced longtime Palestinian patriarch Fouad Twal.

The appointment was unexpected; for the past three decades, the position was held by a native Arabic speaker.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff