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.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

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

Hong Kong residents hold a banner that reads: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” The Occupy Central movement was initiated as an effort to force the Hong Kong and Chinese governments to allow true democracy in the city. (CNS photo/Francis Wong)
“I believe it’s essential for some people to go to jail for the sake of democracy. It will in the end strengthen the movement.”
Verna YuOctober 17, 2017
In a zombie world, the good Samaritan would be toast.
Patrick GallagherOctober 17, 2017
Pope Francis answers questions from journalists aboard his flight from Malmo, Sweden, to Rome Nov. 1. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis confessed that while he has “chutzpah,” “I am also timid.”
Gerard O'ConnellOctober 17, 2017
Callista Gingrich, wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, has been nominated by President Donald Trump to be the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See. She is pictured as her husband speaks at Peachtree Academy in Covington, Georgia, in this Feb. 29, 2012, file photo. (CNS photo/Erik S. Lesser, EPA)
23 senators voted against Ms. Gingrich’s confirmation, a departure from previous nominations that faced little opposition.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 16, 2017