Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Joseph J. Klock

8/13/2014 (2 years 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 (2 years 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?

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
Universal:
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.



Comments


More Living Faith

India's Christian population explodes in inspirational burst of faith Watch

Image of India's Christians need help.

By (CNA/EWTN News)

India is a country of more than 1.2 billion people, with Christians accounting for only some three percent of the population, including close to 19 million Catholics. Despite its relatively small size, the Indian Church has a disproportionate impact on Indian society ... continue reading


Can Pope Francis bring peace to the Middle East? Watch

Image of Can there be peace in the Middle East (Project Peace on Earth)?

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited the Vatican Saturday before inaugurating his country's new embassy to the Holy See, where he met with Pope Francis for a discussion focused largely on peace efforts in the Middle East. Vatican City, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading


Hostage to the Devil: Catholic 'Exorcist' priest's death involved possessed child and invisible force Watch

Image of The priest who inspired

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Friday the 13th is a day of suspicion, horror stories and the harbinger of bad luck. This Friday the thirteenth, however, brings with it new details of a famous priest who died of injuries sustained at the hands of an evil spirit. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Islam remains a major killer of Christians as 90,000 were martyred in 2016 Watch

Image of ISIS terrorists take over a Christian church in Mosul.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Every six seconds, a Christian is martyred for their faith in Christ. This is a rate of persecution that hasn't been seen in Christianity in ages, if ever. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It is unknown when Christians were last persecuted at rates seen in ... continue reading


For the fourth year running, VIOLENCE AGAINST CHRISTIANS IS ON THE RISE Watch

Image of Christian persecution has increased over the years.

By Matt Hadro (CNA/EWTN News)

Global persecution of Christians has risen for the fourth year in a row and is on a "rapid rise" in Asia, the advocacy group Open Doors UK warned on Wednesday in its annual report on Christian persecution. Washington, D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "Religious nationalism is ... continue reading


'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind...' - Pope Francis reminds us to love NOW Watch

Image of Pope Francis encourages us to love the Lord TODAY.

By Hannah Brockhaus (CNA/EWTN News)

Pope Francis reflected on Thursday how each person, not knowing what will happen in the future, has only "today" to love God and open their heart to the Holy Spirit - while the temptation to put things off is foolish, because there may not be another day. Vatican City, ... continue reading


Bishop begs prayers for Dylann Roof's conversion and the souls of his victims Watch

Image of Please pray for Dylan Roof's victims and for her conversion.

By (CNA/EWTN News)

The death sentence announced this week for mass murderer Dylann Roof prompted the local Catholic bishop to call for prayer, for both the victims and Roof. The bishop also reiterated Catholic opposition to the death penalty. Charleston, SC (CNA/EWTN News) - "Please ... continue reading


Where are all the sainthood candidates coming from? One country finds more Causes opened than others Watch

Image of One Cardinal shares the difficulty and time it takes to handle open Causes.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Vatican has been overrun with an overwhelming number of sainthood Causes, with the majority of candidates being Italian. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Cardinal Angelo Amato explained four of every open Cause is Italian and has been for the past decade.There ... continue reading


What is the one most important things to Pope Francis? Watch

Image of Pope Francis talks unity.

By Elise Harris (CNA)

Pope Francis has decided to begin 2017 in much the same way as he did last year: praying for Christian unity. Vatican City, Italy (CNA) - And it's this drive for unity - not only among Christians but with other religions as well - that's emerged as sort-of personal ... continue reading


Boston Archdiocese makes amazing progress with stunning new project Watch

Image of What the Boston Archdiocese has done will amaze you!

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Two of Boston's church's have joined forces to refresh the old and temporary into something new and permanent. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the Boston Globe, the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston ... 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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 5:1-10
1 Every high priest is taken from among human beings and is appointed to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 110:1, 2, 3, 4
1 [Of David Psalm] Yahweh declared to my Lord, 'Take your seat at my ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 2:18-22
18 John's disciples and the Pharisees were keeping a fast, when some ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 16th, 2017 Image

St. Fursey
January 16: Irish monastic founder, the brother of Sts. ... Read More