Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Joseph J. Klock

8/13/2014 (3 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 (3 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'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Living Faith

Take the Catholic Online Thanksgiving Challenge! Watch

Image of Reaching out to others is precisely the way to show that we are thankful for what we have.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a holiday filled with family and food, often spent on televised parades and football, and naps after lunch. Kids play in the yard or the streets as everybody generally has a good time. However, this is not the case for millions of ... continue reading


Pope says he's willing to speak to Islamic State - says nations are likewise guilty of 'terrorism' Watch

Image of After addressing the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, Pope Francis also told journalists that the threat of terrorism was not the only horror weighing on the world.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Asked about the possibilities of discussion with Islamic State, Pope Francis said, "I never count anything as lost. Never. Never close the door. It's difficult, you could say almost impossible, but the door is always open." The Pontiff went forward to say that ... continue reading


Unborn, terminally ill and elderly are treated as objects in Europe, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of If we uphold the dignity of the person we are acknowledging the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Despite talk of human rights, too many people are treated as objects in Europe: unborn, terminally ill, and the elderly," Pope Francis said. Speaking at the European Union Parliament in Strasbourg, the pontiff said that "We're too tempted to throwaway lives we ... continue reading


Church recognizes six new saints as Pope Francis canonizes in Sunday ceremony, speaking about how we too shall be judged Watch

Image of Indian well-wishers gather at the Vatican for the Canonization ceremony.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has canonized six new saints, two Indians and four Italians, praising their lives as "extraordinary" and reminding us all that we will be judged by how we treat others. VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis recognized six new saints on Sunday, ... continue reading


Pope says church must extend help to immigrants, 'so that all may be treated as children of God' Watch

Image of The world must now recognize the advantages of migration. Host countries get new workers to meet production needs,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking to the 300 participants in the Vatican-sponsored World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants, the Pope says that the Catholic Church "is a mother without limits and without borders." He says that the church must welcome and assist all of God's children, ... continue reading


Feast of Christ the King and Advent: What Does it Mean? Watch

Image of The Church really IS the Mystical Body of the Risen Christ. That Body is inseparably joined to the Head. Jesus Christ is alive, he has been raised, and he continues His redemptive mission now through the Church, of which we are members. As we choose to actually live our lives liturgically, not just go through the motions, we can move through life in the flow of the liturgical calendar. We can experience the deeper mystery and meaning of life, now made New in Jesus Christ, the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6,7) Jesus Christ is King! Jesus Christ is meant to become the Lord of our whole lives, and inform the very pattern of how we live them.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

On November 23rd we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Liturgical Church year offers to each of us consider the creature which is called time, receive it as a gift and begin to really live differently. Yet, for ... continue reading


Two bishops dine and dialogue with peace activists

Image of War doesn't decide who is right, just who is left.

By Tony Magliano

During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops fall assembly in Baltimore, two bishops decided to forego the military chaplains dinner sponsored by the U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains Office, and attended instead a simple supper and discussion on peacemaking. On the evening of ... continue reading


'God always forgives, but the earth does not,' Pope warns Watch

Image of The Pope urged the world's leaders to rein in their greed and help the hungry.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A doomsday scenario in which Mother Nature would exact her revenge is possible, even likely, Pope Francis warns. The pontiff was speaking out against the exploitation of natural resources for profit. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pope urged the world's ... continue reading


Pope Francis' special message: Why Poverty? 'And while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain'

Image of When we give our loaves and fishes to Christ, there is no end to the Good that can come from it.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has asked the world to do more to help those who suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Despite gains made in infrastructure and outpourings of food, too many people with plenty have done too little to help. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With ... continue reading


How do you raise a good, upstanding child? With daily prayers, weekly church attendance and the knowledge of God Watch

Image of Billy Graham, now 96, has reached out to millions with his joyous words of the truth of God and Jesus Christ.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Reverend Billy Graham, the world famous television evangelist and founder and chairman of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has said that the reason the world seems to be in such dire straits is that children are not being raised right. LOS ANGELES, CA ... 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, Revelation 20:1-4, 11--21:2
1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:29-33
29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an ... 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