Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Joseph J. Klock

8/13/2014 (6 months 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 (6 months 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2015
General Intention:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Missionary Intention: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Living Faith

ISIS is not the first to persecute Christians, a look at the Roman persecutions of the early Church (PART ONE) Watch

Image of St. James the Greater, one of the first Christian martyrs.

By Robert Mullen (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is a sad and disheartening fact that many Christians suffer from constant-and often brutal-persecution today, most visibly in places like the Middle East where the Islamic State rules, or in Asian nations like India or China where Christianity is a ... continue reading


Making a Lenten Retreat with Pope Francis: Learning from Elijah Watch

Image of There is a mystery here, deep and profound, yet as simple as the broom tree encounter of our teacher Elijah. God is searching for men and women who will surrender their lives in love to Him in this hour. Often, it takes the depletion of all of our own efforts and resources before we are willing to give up - and give in - to Him. When we do, the life of true faith begins. It is there we learn to hear the God of surrendered love in the whisper of the wind. It is there that we learn the Faith of Elijah, under the broom tree.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In many respects, our life on this earth is a classroom of love and a continual invitation to holiness. As we age, we are given the opportunities we need to receive the graces we need to empty ourselves of all that clutters up our life - so that we can be free to ... continue reading


Vatican deeply apologizes for Pope Francis' Argentina 'Mexicanization' comment Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis did not mean any offense - but in a private email about his native land Argentina's drug trafficking issues, the pope expressed concern over Argentina's "Mexicanization." The Vatican is now trying to clarify and apologize to any parties that may ... continue reading


UPDATE: Two years after resignation Pope Emeritus Benedict said to be doing well Watch

Image of Pope Emeritus Benedict is said to be in better health since his resignation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With Pope Francis in the spotlight, many wonder what is happening with Pope Emeritus Benedict, who is keeping true to his pledge to remain out of the public eye. For the curious, we have good news, Pope Emeritus Benedict is doing well, if not even better than before. ... continue reading


Beating swords into plowshares

Image of

By Tony Magliano

"In the days to come, the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills," writes the prophet Isaiah. "Many peoples shall come and say: Come, let us go up to the Lord's mountain . that he may instruct us in his ... continue reading


Andrew M. Greenwell: St. Bonaventure on Counsel Watch

Image of

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

In Bonaventure's analysis of this gift of counsel, there are three steps to sound counsel, which we may also call distinctions.  Counsel relates to whether something is permitted, and, if permitted, whether it is appropriate, and, if permitted and ... continue reading


Pope Francis wants you to pray to end Christian persecution. But will Catholics answer him?

Image of Christians face more than the Islamic State. Destitute, they lack sanitation, privacy, food and water, and their spiritual end educational needs aren't being met. A tremendous effort will be needed to restore these people. Let us pray.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With the mass kidnapping of over 100 Christians in Syria, it has become painfully clear that the Islamic State thinks nothing of targeting innocent civilians and children, threatening, enslaving and murdering anyone whose faith is different. We need now, more than ... continue reading


Saint Gregory of Narek to become 36 Doctor of the Church Watch

Image of An image of Saint Gregory of Narek on an illuminated manuscript.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An Armenian monk and poet from the 10th-century has been named a Doctor of the Universal Church by Pope Francis, an announcement which may be timed coming so close before the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, in which over a million Armenians were ... continue reading


Join Pope Francis and Christians around the world in a Global Day of Prayer to STOP the violent persecution of Christians at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists

Image of The world is asked to join in prayer to end the grave dangers Christians face around the globe.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

We have come to a time of great trial and tribulation in the Church. Christians around the world face more persecution today than they did in ancient Rome. On a daily basis, Christians are being martyred only because they refuse to renounce their faith. It is time for ... continue reading


YCVF Reports - what your generosity did for Syrian and Iraqi Christians in 2014!

Image of YCVF has helped thousands in need. You can be part of this success too. Help now!

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Your Catholic Voice Foundation 2014 Report - Last year, caring, devoted Catholics such as you made thousands of donations to care for Christians in Syria and Iraq. At this time, Your Catholic Voice Foundation would like to report how your donations made a difference. ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 18:21-28
21 'If the wicked, however, renounces all the sins he ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
1 [Song of Ascents] From the depths I call to you, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 5:20-26
20 'For I tell you, if your uprightness does not ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 27th, 2015 Image

St. Leander of Seville
February 27: St. Leander of Seville, Bishop (Feast - February 27th) Leander ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter