Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï

Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï

The leader of the Maronite Catholic Church has said that Christians are suffering the most from the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï said that the situation in the Middle East is worsening, and that ‘whenever a conflict breaks out in the Middle East, whenever chaos ensues, Muslim groups attack the minority Christian community, as if they were always the scapegoat.’

The patriarch, whose church is in full communion with the Vatican, said Christians were ‘paying the price’ of outside interference in both Egypt (above, Egyptian soldiers stand guard at an entrance to Tahrir Square in Cairo) and Syria.

“I have written to the Holy Father twice to describe what is happening. I appeal again to the Holy Father, who only talks about peace and reconciliation,” said the Maronite leader, who was made a cardinal in 2012.

He also accused the international community of ‘total silence’ over Iraq, where he said 1.5 million Christians had fled in the wake of Saddam Hussein’s fall.

• Full story at the Scottish Catholic Observer.