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Franciscan custos: dialogue, coexistence keys to peace in Mideast

(Vatican Radio) With unrest in several countries throughout the Mideast region, including Egypt, Syria and recently Lebanon, which saw twin bomb attacks in a northern city not far from the Syrian border , minority religious groups including Christians are facing the spectre and often the reality of targeted violence against them. The custos of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, told Vatican Radio that religion is being abused by parties in several conflicts. “What I see is a kind of instrumentalisation or manipulation of religions,” he said. The Custos went on to say, “Of course there are problems, but there [is] also great peaceful coexistence among [different religious groups].” Fr Pizzaballa also said the words and example of Pope Francis in favor of peace and concord among people across religious lines have been well-received. “We need to stress – following his example – peaceful coexistence and the need of dialogue among all of us.”

Listen to Alessandro Gisotti’s extended interview with Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM: RealAudioMP3