The Holy Father wrote a letter addressed to the Christians residing in the Middle East. The letter shows Pope Francis' closeness to his flock during a difficult time, a time of "afflictions and tribulations" stemming from the perpetual violence in the region. Another main pupose of the letter is to address the terrorist activities of a new organization.
The Pope wrote that he can no longer keep silent given the rampant persecution and suffering that various religious and ethnic groups have to endure. The Holy Father claimed he is especially concerned for the welfare of the young, mothers, senior citizens, refugees and those without homes during this winter season.
Pope Francis also reminded Christians that they "have the duty and the right to take full part in the life and progress of their nations. They are called to be artisans of peace, reconciliation and development, to promote dialogue."
Caritas and other Catholic charitable and educational organizations were held in esteem by Pope Francis. He commended these groups for contributing to the peace in a wartorn part of the world.
The Holy Father wrote, "Sadly, afflictions and tribulations have not been lacking, even more recently, in the Middle East. They have been aggravated in the past months because of the continuing hostilities in the region, but especially because of the work of a newer and disturbing terrorist organization, of previously unimaginable dimensions, which has perpetrated all kinds of abuses and inhuman acts. It has particularly affected a number of you, who have been brutally driven out of your native lands, where Christians have been present since apostolic times."
The letter also mentions the international community's responsibility in helping those who suffer in the Middle East. The Pope is asking the faithful to pray that one day those who are displaced will find a home and a lifestyle that provides "dignity and security".
The Pope encourages Christians in the letter to focus on Jesus Christ and to remember the very important role they play:
" May you always bear witness to Jesus amid your difficulties! Your very presence is precious for the Middle East. You are a small flock, but one with a great responsibility in the land where Christianity was born and first spread. You are like leaven in the dough...Thank you for your perseverance!"