humanitarian work of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and its partner
agencies directed toward refugees in the Middle East deserves far more
attention than it has received and Maronite Bishop Gregory J. Mansour
says it’s time Catholics in the pew knew about it. The work of feeding, sheltering and providing health care for
hundreds of thousands of people who have trekked to safety in Jordan and
Lebanon from Iraq and Syria is a story that the mainstream media
largely has ignored, much to the chagrin of Mansour, the incoming
chairman of the board at CRS.
In a Dec. 16 interview with Catholic News Service, he said that
the focus of much media reporting has been on assessing blame for the
catastrophe or analyzing the response of governments in the region with
little attention paid to the plight of the people uprooted from
their homes. Mansour heads the Eparchy of St. Maron in Brooklyn, which
includes Maronite Catholics in the District of Columbia and 16 states.
It is one of two Maronite eparchies in the U.S.
The Maronite Catholic Church is a worldwide Eastern Catholic
Church that traces its roots to a fourth-century Syrian monk named
“I think the Middle East has had a story to tell and
unfortunately, all you hear about is the rebels and the regime in
Syria,” said Mansour, who is succeeding Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of
Oklahoma City as chair. “You don’t hear about all the humanitarian work
that is being done, Christians and Muslims alike in tandem working
Mansour critiqued the media for focusing blame and then doing nothing in the way of solutions. “Pope
Francis got it right: The media people, many of them just antagonize,
make the situation worse. They’re not doing what CRS is doing on the
ground. They’re not doing what Caritas (is doing). They’re not doing
what the Catholic Church is doing,” he said.
George Prezioso, chairman of the Catholic Citizens Committee