Q and A: "Life was good for everybody before the war. But now, everything has been destroyed, stolen."
The Middle East is suffering a "Way of the Cross" that is the greatest tragedy since World War II, Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregoire III Laham said in a Lenten message about suffering.
He said the church, despite its efforts, is having difficulty meeting the growing needs it faces in the region.
"We fail in front of the suffering of our people in all walks of life, Christians and Muslims. It's a universal suffering," he said.
The Middle East, especially Iraq and Syria, are experiencing "terrorism of previously unimaginable proportions" in which the perpetrators seem to have absolutely no regard for the value of human life, Pope Francis said.
"It seems that the awareness of the value of human life has been lost; it seems that the person does not count and can be sacrificed to other interests. And all of this, unfortunately, with the indifference of many," he said during a special meeting at the Vatican on the Middle East.
Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai said the Maronite Catholic church could not remain a bystander as Lebanon neared an "existential crisis."
"We must return to the achievements reached by the Lebanese people when they devised the original national pact," Rai said, referring to the 1943 agreement that laid the foundation of Lebanon as a multiconfessional state. "Coexistence lies in belonging to a civilized project that brings together Muslims and Christians."