“Most importantly, the Holy Father brought to the attention of the international community the situation of the Christians in Iraq and in the entire Near East,” he wrote. “Although the Christians are a constituent part of their native countries, far too often they are treated as second-class citizens.”
Heine-Geldern wrote that he has growing concern over the murder, kidnapping or abuse of priests, religious and Catholic laity particularly in India and Nigeria, as well as the African Sahel region and Mozambique.
“Although the violence affects all, Christians are hardest hit,” he wrote. “It is deeply regrettable that in many areas terrorism and violence are preventing the Church from carrying out its pastoral and social work.”
“Not only the churches and monastic communities, but also hospitals, schools and many other facilities that are run by the Church and are of vital importance to the people have been forced to close,” he continued. “The local Church is now facing another Herculean task: providing care and assistance to the hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced persons.”
He also warned of a growing religious intolerance particularly in Europe.
“We are now preparing to face the emerging challenges of 2022 armed with our faith in God and confidence, whereby we understand confidence as a virtue that does not disclaim these fears and worries, but constantly seeks to find new areas to serve our mission,” Heine-Geldern wrote.
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