Franciscan bishop pledges to stay in Libya

‘I cannot leave the few remaining Christians’
Catholic World News – August 05, 2014

As rival militias battle for control of Libya, the apostolic vicar of Tripoli, Bishop Giovanni Martinelli, has pledged to remain in the North African nation “even if only one Christian remains.”

Islamist militias have held sway in some areas of the country since NATO’s 2011 military intervention helped lead to the fall of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

“The Christian community in Libya is now reduced to a minimum, but I intend to stay here even if only one Christian remains,” the Italian Franciscan bishop told the Fides news agency.

“In Cyrenaica [eastern coastal Libya] there are no nuns, while the majority of Filipinos are leaving the region, who are the heart of the Christian community in Libya,” he continued. “In Tripoli, there is still a good presence of Filipinos, but even here many of them are leaving.”

“I cannot leave the few remaining Christians,” Bishop Martinelli emphasized. “Prayer alone can solve difficult situations like the one in Libya today.”

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