(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis made a special appeal for suffering Christians in the Middle Ease on Wednesday, during the course of his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. “God does not remain silent before the suffering and cries of His children,” he said, “nor does He remain silent before injustice and persecution: He rather intervenes and gives, by His mercy, rescue and salvation.”
“God uses patience with the sinner,” the Holy Father continued, “to induce him to conversion, and he searches for the lost sheep, for, “[God] will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:4)”
Pope Francis has been a vocal advocate for the rights of religious minorities around the world, and particularly of Christians in the Middle East, where ancient Christian communities are suffering often brutal and deadly persecution, particularly at the hands of militants fighting for the so-called Islamic State.
Pope Francis concluded his remarks to Arabic-speaking pilgrims with a blessing and an invocation of Divine protection. “God bless you all,” he said, “and protect you from the Evil One.”