The key to the resolving of conflict across the Middle East is held by the Catholic Church, whose mediation can prove vital.
That is the view of the new Apostolic Nuncio to the Persian Gulf Mgr Paul-Mouned El-Hachem, whose nunciature will cover Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen and Qatar. And Mgr El-Hachem, told the Aid to the Church in Need charity he believed the Church should take on the mantle of peacemaker in the area.
“I believe that the Catholic Church in Lebanon and in the whole world is now called to play the role of mediator between Orient and Occident,” he said.
The Nuncio, who previously served for ten years as a Maronite bishop in Lebanon, went on to say the Maronite episcopate had been staunch supporters of Pope John Paul II’s denouncement of the Iraqi war.
He said the late Pontiff’s stance obliged all Catholics, not just those from the countries involved in the war, to sue for peace between Christians and Muslims. And, despite the pressures on Christians in the Middle East, especially in Iraq where the threat of Sharia law and attacks by extremist insurgents are driving the faithful out of the country, Mgr El-Hachem maintained that Christianity must be preserved in the region.
“As a Christian, I state that the Christian presence is important, even necessary, for other religions present in the Middle East,” he said. “Something would be missing in the Middle East without the religion of love, reconciliation and forgiveness.” The Nuncio also prayed for peace between Palestine and Israel.