Pope Francis: "We won't resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians"

“Syria, Iraq, Egypt and other areas of the Holy Land sometimes overflow with tears,” he told a gathering at the Vatican of leaders from Eastern rite churches that have links with the Roman Catholic Church.

“We won’t resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians who for two thousand years confess the name of Jesus, as full citizens in social, cultural and religious life of the nations to which they belong,” he said.

The pope appealed for “everyone’s right to a dignified life and to freely profess their faith [to] be respected.”

He also said he would “not rest as long as there are men and women, of any religion, affected in their dignity, deprived of life’s basic necessities, robbed of a future, forced to the status of refugees and asylum-seekers.”