Rebuilding Libya

As residents of Benghazi, Libya, marked the anniversary of Libya’s revolution on Feb. 19, the head of the city’s diminished Catholic community spoke of a need to rebuild his congregation and of the uncertainties ahead. “Thank God everything passed peacefully,” said Bishop Sylvester Magro after a Mass attended by just a few dozen worshipers, most of them Filipinos. Beyond the gates of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, the city’s Mediterranean-facing boulevards were crammed with thousands of revelers, guarded by heavily armed militia and a fledgling black-clad police force. Libya is an almost entirely Muslim country, with Christianity restricted to enclaves of foreign workers. Benghazi was once home to a 2,000-strong Catholic community. Now just 300 Catholics remain. Despite the official end to the war in late October and the return of relative security in eastern Libya, Bishop Magro said Catholic migrants are only slowly returning. The prospect of a new, more Islamic government for Libya has raised some concerns over future restrictions on the country’s Christian communities.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Greg Hicks as "Richard III" (photo: Alex Brenner)
It would be fascinating were the producers able to arrange a quick transfer to a venue somewhere near the White House.
David StewartMay 26, 2017
In the hyper-curated, beautiful world that Dev lives in, a scene that conveys the touching, ugly stubbornness of marriage seems totally impossible.
Eloise BlondiauMay 26, 2017
This image released by the Minya governorate media office shows bodies of victims killed when gunmen stormed a bus in Minya, Egypt, Friday, May 26, 2017 (Minya Governorate Media office via AP).
The attack in central Egypt today killed at least 26 people, including children aged 2 to 4, and wounded 25 others.
Gerard O'ConnellMay 26, 2017
The data and facts are clear: If you care about working families and sound economic policy, SNAP is the program for you.
Meghan J. ClarkMay 26, 2017