Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Joseph J. Klock

8/13/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The national press in America has provided only limited coverage of the horrendous acts of violence taking place everyday against defenseless civilians in Iraq simply because of their faith.

In a series of tweets over recent days, Pope Francis has raised an alarm to the international community pleading for us to protect and pray for "all those suffering violence in Iraq," and to live in solidarity with them.

Highlights

By Joseph J. Klock

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/13/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Iraq, Syria, Catholics, refugees, Pope Francis, Tomasi, solidarity, prayforpeace, religious persecution, humanitarian assistance


VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - In a series of tweets over recent days, Pope Francis has raised an alarm to the international community pleading for us to protect and pray for "all those suffering violence in Iraq," and to live in solidarity with them.

Since August 9, Pope Francis has tweeted the following:
08/09/2014  I ask the international community to protect all those suffering violence in Iraq.
08/09/2014  Violence is not conquered by violence. Lord, send us the gift of peace. #prayforpeace
08/10/2014  Those driven from their homes in Iraq depend on us. I ask all to pray, and for those who are able, to give material assistance.
08/10/2014  The news coming from Iraq pains me. Lord, teach us to live in solidarity with all those who suffer.
08/10/2014  An appeal to all families: when you say your prayers, remember all those forced from their homes in Iraq. #PrayForPeace
08/11/2014  "I ask all Catholic parishes and communities to offer a special prayer this weekend for Iraqi Christians." #prayforpeace.

Yes, I want to Help Protect those Suffering in Iraq

Speaking on Vatican Radio on Monday, August 11, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See's Permanent Observer to the United Nations in Geneva noted that "we are faced with a certain indifference at the practical level with the international community. It is difficult to convince-because of false modesty, I would say-the Western powers to take a strong stance in defense of the Christians."

At the United Nations, the Security Council has called for an end to "the systematic persecution of individuals from minority populations and those who refuse the extremist ideology of ISIL and associated armed groups."  United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called "on the international community, especially those with the influence and resources to positively impact the situation, to support the Government and people of Iraq and to do all it can to help alleviate the suffering of the population affected by the current conflict in Iraq."  No one has yet reported on any proposals for sending in peace-keeping forces to protect and defend the citizens of Iraq.

On August 8, President Obama authorized limited air strikes to protect the Iraqi Yezidi people and others living nearby and the American and some European governments have begun to drop humanitarian aid to the refugees fleeing from the criminal force perpetrating the genocide. On August 11, the USA began supplying arms directly to the Kurdish forces to help them to defend themselves.  Many experienced observers question whether air strikes alone can stop the genocide or whether it represents more violence in response to violence rather than a commitment for restoring peace. 

Commenting further on Vatican Radio, Archbishop Tomasi said, "At this moment, we hope the voice that is surging from different Christian and religious communities, from moderate Muslims, and from people of good will around the world may find the response of concrete humanitarian assistance that is provided for the Christians in northern Iraq as well as some political and even effective military protection." 

On August 11, a group of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders in Denver calling itself the Peace Love and Coexistence (PLACE) Initiative appealed to President Obama "to work urgently through diplomatic channels and ethical intervention to stop the murder and persecution of Christians in the Middle East, their violent displacement from their native homelands, and the destruction of their homes, properties, churches and places of worship." 

President Obama may authorize taking a stronger stance in defense of the Christians and others in Iraq, if he believes that the American people want the country to do so.  Before that happens, he may need to hear from more American voices speaking out on behalf of those suffering in Iraq. 

This is where people of faith in America can contribute first by praying for peace both individually and in groups and secondly by speaking out following the example of the PLACE initiative in Denver.  "Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, the chairman of the Committee of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has asked the U.S. bishops to invite the people of their dioceses to pray for peace in Iraq on Sunday, August 17.  Not only on that day but on every day, people of faith can pray constantly as Pope Francis tweeted, "to remember all those forced from their homes in Iraq."  Today, The Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue in Rome called on religious leaders around the world "to exercise their influence with the authorities to end these crimes, to punish those who commit them, and to reestablish the rule of law throughout the land ensuring the return home of those who have been displaced."

While most Americans want to distance themselves from the ongoing turmoil in Iraq, studies show that a large majority of Americans support action to stop genocide when they see evidence of it taking place.  The national press in America has provided only limited coverage of the horrendous acts of violence taking place everyday against defenseless civilians in Iraq simply because of their faith.  Beheadings of children, crucifixions of Christians, mass killings, rape, and torture have had limited coverage by the secular media.  If the American people knew as much about the genocide in Iraq as they know about the suffering in the Holy Land, support for action would likely increase. 

While Catholics and members of other faith communities may find it difficult to influence coverage by national news media, organizing local awareness campaigns and communicating with their members can help to raise the awareness and concern of the American people as a whole.

Many Catholic organizations and other faith communities have representatives at the United Nations who can appeal to the delegates of the member states represented on the Security Council in support of the plea for a "stronger stance" voiced by Archbishop Tomasi in Geneva.

People of faith will die for their beliefs in many parts of the world today, not just in Iraq and 75% of those being persecuted and killed are Christians, many of them Catholic Christians.  The 2014 report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom categorizes 16 nations including Iraq and Syria as "countries of particular concern" for violations of religious freedom and places another 10 countries at a second level of concern.  We cannot forget about the girls missing in Nigeria and the killings, displacements, and destruction taking place there, or the killing taking place in the Holy Land, the South Sudan, the Ukraine, and elsewhere.  While we support our governments efforts to help find the kidnapped children in Nigeria and to work for peace in the Holy Land and other areas, the magnitude of the suffering in Iraq and the rapidity of its advancing calls for emergency action to overcome what Archbishop Tomasi called "the indifference at a practical level of the international community."

Yes, I want to Help those Suffering in Iraq

Responding to the emergency appeals of Pope Francis, Archbishop Tomasi, and others with prayer and practical ways such as those mentioned here presents a concrete opportunity for American Catholics to put our faith into practice in solidarity with each other and with Catholics and other people of faith around the country and the world.  As American Catholics we have the freedom and right to represent the concerns of the suffering people of Iraq, including Christians, Shia Muslims, and Yezidi to our government with its existing presence in Iraq and at the United Nations.  How many of us will heed Pope Francis' call?

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Living Faith

MAKE YOURSELF COUNT! Complete this quick Ash Wednesday survey

Image of Take the Ash Wednesday survey so we can better serve your needs.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online is conducting a global survey on Ash Wednesday practices. Each reader is asked to participate once. The survey will take less than a minute to complete. The results of the survey will help Catholic Online determine how best to serve your needs in the ... continue reading


Pope Francis' message for Lent (FULL TEXT: ENGLISH) Watch

Image of

By Pope Franics, Vatican Radio

"I desire mercy, and not sacrifice" (Mt 9:13).The works of mercy on the road of the Jubilee 1. Mary, the image of a Church which evangelizes because she is evangelizedIn the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I asked that "the season of Lent in ... continue reading


POPE FRANCIS ANGELUS: February 7, 2016 (FULL TEXT: ENGLISH) Watch

Image of

By Pope Francis

Dear brothers and sisters, Goodmorning!The Gospel of this Sunday says - in the drafting of St. Luke - the call of the first disciples of Jesus ( Lk 5,1-11). The fact takes place in a context of everyday life: there are some fishermen on the shore of Lake Galilee, who, ... continue reading


Is this where the Annunciation took place? Ancient artwork sheds light an old mystery about the Virgin Mary Watch

Image of The Annunciation, 1859 (oil on canvas), Pinchon, Auguste.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

One of the oldest depictions of the Virgin Mary is casting new light on the Annunciation. A new look at an ancient depiction in the Yale University Art Gallery is making some question what they believe about the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


How do presidents pray? The beginning of a beautiful tradition Watch

Image of John F. Kennedy praying during the 9th annual Presidential Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 9, 1961 (Prayers for America).

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

This morning marks the 64th annual National Prayer Breakfast and President Obama's last time attending the remarkable tradition while in office.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On the first Thursday in February, the members of Congress and evangelical ... continue reading


Pope Francis will travel to Mexico as a messenger for peace Watch

Image of Pope Francis has participated in a collective interview, in which he responded to four questions posed by 33 people from various states across Mexico (Catholic News Agency).

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis will leave for Mexico in just over a week. In a new interview with a Mexican news agency, he told citizens of the crime-ridden country that while there, he hopes to be a messenger of peace, which must be fought for daily. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN ... continue reading


Sparks fly over Pope Francis' interview with Asia Times Watch

Image of Pope Francis did not speak of religion or freedom when praising China as a progressive country (Vatican).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis' exclusive interview on Tuesday afternoon has been met with harsh criticism. Though the pontiff spoke highly of the country, he steered clear of religion and freedom talks. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis spoke ... continue reading


Sis boom bah! American Circus cheerleaders perform for Pope Francis at the Vatican Watch

Image of Pope Francis enjoyed a cheer by the American Circus, which performed at the Vatican on Wednesday (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Following his general audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis enjoyed cheers, acrobatics and juggling performed by the Italian troupe "American Circus." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During the Papal Audience, the American Circus performed before the pontiff and ... continue reading


'I'm gay and I'm a priest, period': Chicago priest opens up about his same sex attraction Watch

Image of Father Michael Shanahan has announced his sexual orientation to the world (Our Lady of Lourdes).

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Twenty-three years after joining the clergy as a priest, Father Michael Shanahan, the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Chicago, has publicly admitted he is sexually attracted to other men. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The news was released via the ... continue reading


Before priests, nuns drop 'gossip bombs,' - bite your tongue, Pope Francis commands Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

"Bite your tongue!" That is the orders of Pope Francis, who said that gossip loving priests and nuns are hindering their cause by the spreading of innuendos and gossip. The pontiff also bemoaned the drop-off in vocations but said those that the church takes must be ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • 10 important things to consider during Lent
  • Daily Readings for Tuesday, February 09, 2016
  • Stations of the Cross - Series HD Video
  • St. Apollonia: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, February 09, 2016
  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?
  • Take this thought provoking Stations of the Cross survey
  • Daily Reading for Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 8:22-23, 27-30
22 Then, in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, Solomon stood ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5, 10, 11
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a nest to place its ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 7:1-13
1 The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 9th, 2016 Image

St. Apollonia
February 9: St. Apollonia, who died in the year 249, was ... Read More