Catholic News Agency (CNA/EWTN News) New York City, N.Y. – Christianity is at a crossroads in the Middle East, and only a dedicated campaign of aid and activism can help Christians survive as a merciful, forgiving influence in the region, according to the head of the Knights of Columbus.
“Either Christianity will survive and offer a witness of forgiveness, charity and mercy, or it will disappear, impoverishing the region religiously, ethnically and culturally,” Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight and CEO of the Knights of Columbus, said Oct. 12.
Anderson’s remarks came at the awards banquet for the Path to Peace Award. The Knights of Columbus received the award in recognition of its work in the Middle East and its humanitarian work throughout the world.The Knights’ support campaign began in 2014, raising millions of dollars for Christians and other minorities suffering from war or persecution in the Middle East, especially Iraq and Syria.
Anderson said Christians have lived “heroically” in the Middle East for 2,000 years. “This is the history of Christians indigenous to the Middle East. They forgive, and by doing so they open the path to peace,” the Supreme Knight continued. “Today, they have given up everything but their faith, for their faith. But even having lost so much, they have given a great gift, to their fellow citizens and to the world. The gift they have given is the example of forgiveness and mercy – the fundamental building blocks of peace.”
Previous recipients of the Path to Peace Award include U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former President Corazon C. Aquino of the Philippines, and former President Lech Walesa of Poland. The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternity, has about 1.9 million members worldwide. The Knights’ relief fund for Middle East Christians and other minorities is accepting donations through its webpage at www.kofc.org/Iraq