Despite the grief and concern caused by violence in the movement for greater democracy in various Arab countries, the changes taking place are “promising,” says a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said on Octava Dies that the West “should not interfere” in these political changes, but should “offer its help.”

He urged his listeners “not to be afraid” given the changes that are taking place, but to “engage in positive dialogue” with the people of these countries.

“The violence that accompanies the resistance to the spread of the movement of transformation of the political situation in Arab countries — particularly in Libya — is, of course, a source of very great grief for the suffering of the victims and populations, in addition to concern for the result of the process underway,” the priest acknowledged.

He added, “The violence runs the risk of making pacification very difficult.”

However, Father Lombardi noted, this “great revolution” is seen “with eyes of hope by expert observers as a possible springtime in the Arab world.”

Given recent events, he said, “Western peoples admit having been taken largely by surprise.”


The Holy See is expressing “consternation and grief” due to the bloody repression of the protests taking place in Libya at present, said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi.

The Holy See’s permanent observer at the U.N. offices in Geneva affirmed this Friday during a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council, which met to assess the measures being taken toward this North African country.

As happened in other countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria, protests have also been unleashed in Libya against the ruling regime. However, the authorities in the latter country, supported by paid mercenaries, have turned to violent measures to squelch the protests. At present, it is impossible to confirm the number of victims since the uprising began on Feb. 15. Reports range from the hundreds to the thousands of dead protestors. Many sources are speaking of common graves on the beach of Tripoli where victims are buried. Archbishop Tomasi said Friday on Vatican Radio, “The Holy See states that first of all it is necessary to put an end to this violence and effect a return to dialogue to see if a solution can be found.”

“These protests express the popular will for active and democratic participation in the management of the country,” he added.

The prelate continued: “The Holy See expresses its disconcert and grief over the very many victims caused by this Libyan crisis. “It also seeks to understand how these decisions of the international community could be effective for the benefit of the citizens of Libya.” He underlined the need to prevent the “massive exodus” that “could be inevitable if a peaceful and agreed upon solution is not found for this crisis.”

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 27, 2011 (