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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/16/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Assassination of Syrian priest casts pall over faithful

The assassination of Dutch Jesuit Fr. Frans van der Lugt, shot to death by an unknown assailant at his base in Homs, Syria on April 7 has cast a pall for the faithful here. Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus says that Syrian Christians face a seemingly endless Way of the Cross, with many suffering and dying in silence.

Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus says that Syrian Christians face a seemingly endless Way of the Cross, with many suffering and dying in silence.

Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus says that Syrian Christians face a seemingly endless Way of the Cross, with many suffering and dying in silence.

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/16/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Syria, Christians, David Cameron, murder, Fr. Frans van der Lugt


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - One of the oldest Christian communities in the world is facing one of the most challenging Holy Weeks in its history. "This Holy Week was introduced by the murder of Fr. Frans from Homs in the fourth year of war and violence. Shells raining down on our neighborhoods, schools closed, we cannot give an account of the victims. We are abandoned to Providence," Nassar says.

"This small Syrian people, so kind, generous and patient, have become accustomed to suffering and die in silence. It is in this spirit that we live Holy Week and Easter holidays, knowing that the Way of the Cross . has marked our lives for three years, accompanies the fourth year . The end of the tunnel is invisible."

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The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron said that the British Government should stand up against the persecution of Christians abroad.

"I hope we can do more to raise the profile of the persecution of Christians around the world. It is the case today that our religion is now the most persecuted religion around the world. I think Britain can play a leading role in this," Cameron said at a reception on Downing Street. It marked the first time Cameron spoke up on the issue of Christian persecution.

"We have met our obligations in terms of the aid we give to countries around the world," he said. "We're seen as a country, which is engaged internationally, and I know that [the Foreign Secretary] William Hague shares my view about this as does Sayeeda Warsi who leads on this issue in the Foreign Office. We should stand up against persecution of Christians and other religious groups wherever and whenever we can, and should be unashamed in doing so."

Cameron also referred to his recent trip to the Holy Land. "I'm proud this year to have completed a small pilgrimage, which is I have finally made it to the place where our Savior was both crucified and born."

In the meantime the investigation into Lugt's murder continues. One theory is that the murder was carried out by a hardline rebel group, called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. It's suspected that the group retaliated against the evacuation of an elderly Christian woman, a blind Sunni man and 21 young rebels from Homs.

A new campaign is seeking to include a prayer for persecuted Christians at the end of every Sunday Mass. Church officials are said to be "extremely interested" in the idea.

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