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A Church in Shadow

Categories: Articles:Social Justice | Published: 25/02/2018 | Views: 764

Maronite Archbishop of Damascus details the severity of the worsening situation in Syria in his Lenten letter.

This seventh year of war in Syria has seen:

1)     The build up of attacks and violence.
2)    An escalation of people leaving the country, especially young people and men looking for work, which is unavailable.
3)    A social crisis, where inflation has made the Syrians who have remained a people dependent completely on handouts, donations or begging.
4)    80%  of medical specialists have left the country, which means 90% of doctors.  60%  of those  wounded die through lack of care.
5)     A peaceful solution has still to be achieved.  The 12 million who are now refugees elsewhere are no worse off than the Syrian people who have stayed or been abandoned.

In the face of this painful situation charitable activities have continued to stagnate or be unable to progress because of the lack of structures and competent trained social workers.

This means that the number of families helped in 2017 was limited to 828 against 1407 in 2016.  How many will be assisted in 2018? A feeling of guilt disturbs us…. Thank you Lord for your forgiveness.

This rapid backward trend leaves us breathless….The situation is getting worse daily and those who leave  do so without our being able to say goodbye or wish them well.  An overpowering feeling of distress and anguish is sometimes too much  to bear.

The Church structures are slowly disintegrating:  in 2017 there were only 10 marriages rather than 30;  7 baptisms rather than 40.  Are we beginning a new chapter in the life of the Church?

At the time of my consecration in 2006 as Maronite Bishop of Damascus a priest of the Diocese said to me " I wonder if you are the last Bishop of Damascus?  Will you be able to give the key of the Cathedral to anybody?''  Look at what has happened in Iraq : I fear that  his foreboding may be true.

With all the bombing, which takes place without warning innocent people, are killed:  we carry on nevertheless, aware that we are in God's hands. 
He says to each of us " Do not fear little flock.." Luke 12,22

Lent 2018                         + Samir NASSAR

                                  Maronite  Archbishop of Damascus.

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