According to the AP,  Pope Benedict XVI has told Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the discrimination and violence Catholics suffer in the Middle East and said he hopes relations between the local Catholic Church and authorities can improve.

image Something is missing. Remember Archbishop Gewargis Sliwa, of the Assyrian Church of the East. Barry Schwortz, pictured here with the Archbishop, published a special article about the Archbishop and the work he was doing in Iraq to bring the Shroud of Turin to a larger audience. The archbishop had published an Arabic language book he had written about the Shroud of Turin titled, "The Image of Edessa."

At the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East that apparently prompted the communiqué to Ahmadinejad, Orthodox delegates, including especially Archbishop Sliwa  had asked for help with church in Iraq. What is happening in Iraq to Assyrian and Anglican Christians is shocking beyond anything happening in Iran. See U.S. Catholic.

The Orthodox bishops also sought commonality on the date for Easter each year and more openness in the Eucharist. This is not likely to happen in the near future. But in the face of daily murders and attacks on churches, a stronger stance by Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox and Protestant traditions on the treatment of all Christians in Iraq is called for.

Pope writes Ahmadinejad of Catholics’ plight