'It makes your blood run cold': Shocking ISIS-destroyed churches disturb priest
FREE Catholic Classes
The desolation of a burned Iraqi church left Argentine-born missionary Father Luis Montes with the firm conviction that Satan is at the root of the attacks, and Christians must pray for the conversion of ISIS.
Priest visits Catholic church (not pictured) after ISIS clears out.
Mosul, Iraq (CNA/EWTN News) - "The one who is behind everything is the devil, behind ISIS and the rest of the jihadist groups, and behind the people who support them, some by a similar fanaticism and others for various interests," the priest said upon visiting the heavily damaged Church of Saint George in Bartella, recently freed from the Islamic State group.
Fr. Montes said that these forces are in reality attacking Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the human race. "But since they cannot harm him, they attack his churches, his faithful, in memory of him," he said.
"It really shakes you up to see a sacred place burned, vandalized, desecrated," he said on his Facebook page March 24. "You're left speechless seeing what you already knew from photos and testimonies. It makes your blood run cold."
"To see the floors, the walls, the ceilings full of soot, the pews thrown any which way, statues broken, scattered, trampled, the sacred books reduced to ashes, you perceive in a very powerful way the hatred that caused this, the hatred that can be summed up in a sentence: the rejection of Christ and his Cross."
He stressed that "the same hatred that attacks the temples of Christ, attacks the living temples which are the Christians."
Fr. Montes acknowledged that the Islamic State group "attacks everyone who does not think like they do," but he said Christians are persecuted because Christ was the first one persecuted.
Seeing a destroyed church brings sadness, pain, and anger, but also "a holy pride, because they are persecuting us for belonging to Christ," the priest reflected. "Jesus told us that when this happens, let us rejoice, because our reward will be great in Heaven."
The priest's March 23 visit to Bartella and Qaraqosh came at the invitation of Archbishop Alberto Ortega, apostolic nuncio to Iraq and Jordan. The traditionally Christian towns were seized by the Islamic State group two years ago and only recently freed by Iraqi military troops.
Father Montes is a missionary of the Institute of the Incarnate Word. He has been on mission in Iraq for more than five years. Those who doubt that Christians are persecuted should visit these towns, he said.
Despite the great pain left in the wake of ISIS, the priest said he also found grace.
"It was a deep joy which led me to pick up some keepsakes of that place: a stone, a cover of a burned missal, a piece of some destroyed statue, all symbols of the grace that God grants us for being persecuted for his Son."
"So much destruction must move us to pray for the persecutors," Fr. Montes said, calling them "the foolish followers of the greatest loser in history."
"The devil makes noise and instills fear but he is the great failure," he explained. "When he succeeded in killing the Son of God, he lost the power he had, and now, when evil seems to be more victorious, in reality it is when it most defeats itself, because God ordains everything for the good of his chosen ones."
The priest urged the faithful "to pray for those who follow the devil, so they may convert and live, because God is capable of calling them to Himself and awaits our prayers to give us the glory of being partakers in his victory."
Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2019
Young People and the Example of Mary. That young people, especially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world.
Pro-life advocates in Argentina have called for the acquittal of Dr. Leandro RodrÃguez Lastra, whose trial started May 13 in Rio Negro ... continue reading
In Bulgaria Sunday, Pope Francis said Catholics and Orthodox are united by the blood of the martyrs and the Christians who continue ... continue reading
They were founded three decades ago in southern Sudan, and named the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But in a region dramatically ... continue reading
As most Catholic churches remain closed across Sri Lanka, following the Easter bombings that claimed more than 250 lives, one parish in a ... continue reading
One week after the Sri Lanka Easter bombings, authorities continue to seek those responsible for the violence, while enacting new security ... continue reading
FREE Catholic Classes Pick a class, you can learn anything
by Catholic Online
- Prayer Requests Live for Monday, May 20th, 2019 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Tuesday, May 21, 2019
- As Australian Catholic school abandons tests and grades, critics are ...
- Daily Reading for Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 HD Video
- French bishops' conference to hear testimonies from children of priests
- St. Eugene de Mazenod: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, May 21, 2019
- California confession bill amended, but still would require priests ...
- Prayer Requests Live for Monday, May 20th, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, May 21st, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, May 20th, 2019 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org
Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel
Learn the Catholic way
Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all
K-12 & Adult Education Classes
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education
Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.