The world continues to be silent in the face of widespread persecution of Christians and other religious minorities, Pope Francis said.
Christians in the Middle East are facing difficulties ranging from "bad" to "less bad," said Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem.
While describing the condition of the Palestinians in the West Bank as "bad," he said their situation is better than the challenges faced by Christians in Syria and Iraq, especially those who have been forced to flee homes in the fact of Islamic State militants.
Twal pushed again for an end to hostilities throughout the Holy Land and the Middle East.
Authors' note: This blog post is part two of a two-part series. Read part one: "A Middle Eastern House of Cards."
Great uncertainty hovers over discussions of the shape of the new order that will emerge from the violence and chaos sweeping through the Middle East today. The old order, unnaturally born from the Sykes-Picot Agreement 100 years ago, is coming to an end, dealt a death blow by the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, and alternative visions for the region have proved misguided.
Ninety-nine years ago, on May 16, 1916, the Sykes-Picot Agreement, officially known as the Asia Minor Agreement, laid down the borders of the Middle East as we have known them for a century. The diplomats, Francois Georges-Picot for France and Sir Mark Sykes for Britain, had worked out the details in five months of negotiations, from November 1915 to March 1916.
NCR Today: Hope for future Arab generations will help remove the despair that provides a breeding ground for the Islamic State and future terrorist groups.
The story of the Middle East for 2014 is one of war and displacement, broken families and tireless aid workers and the rise of a new terrorist group.
Ask Syrian refugees sheltering in neighboring Jordan about the advent of U.S.-led strikes against Islamic State militants in their homeland, and the reactions will be mixed.
Some welcome the surprise military intervention, saying it could lead to ending the nearly 4-year-old war in Syria and diminish the power of Islamic State fighters and other terrorist groups operating in the country.
NCR Today: It is time to bring political actors, scholars and religious leaders together to explore how to nourish a democratic spirit in the Middle East from indigenous roots.
Faith and Justice: The news around the world is tragic and depressing. Our choices are: do nothing, use diplomacy, impose sanctions, or intervene militarily. Are there other options?
NCR Today: As another week of violence comes to a close, Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, has been advancing the cause of peace in the Holy Land.