Skip to content

'It makes your blood run cold': Shocking ISIS-destroyed churches disturb priest

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

By (CNA/EWTN News)
3/31/2017 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (

'To see the floors, the walls, the ceilings full of perceive in a very powerful way the hatred that caused this...'

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.

Priest visits Catholic church (not pictured) after ISIS clears out.


By (CNA/EWTN News)
Catholic Online (
3/31/2017 (2 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Father Luis Montes, ISIS, church, Mosul

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."


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'

Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK


More Middle East

Bishops in Middle East urge prayer for northern Syria Watch

Image of Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Ras al Ayn during the Turkish offensive against Kurdish groups in northeastern Syria Oct. 17 2019 as seen from Turkey.

Bishops in Syria and Iraq have called for worldwide prayer as fighting between Turkish and Kurdish forces further destabilizes northern ... continue reading

Moroccan king pardons woman who procured abortion, those who participated Watch

Image of Dr. Mohammed Jamal Belkeziz leaves the prison in Sale Oct 16 2019. He was pardoned after being sentenced to two years imprisonment for performing an abortion.

Morocco's king pardoned Wednesday a journalist, her fiance, and the medical team who last month were found guilty of procuring and ... continue reading

Syrian Christians face new threat from Turkey, human rights group warns Watch

Image of

Endangered Christian populations in the Middle East face renewed risks as the United States removes troops from Syria, a leading human ... continue reading

How a Palestinian village sheds light on the drama of Christians in the Holy Land Watch

Image of

Jifna is a Palestinian village in the West Bank, just 5 miles north of Ramallah - the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority - and ... continue reading

Pompeo meets pope to discuss religious freedom, Middle East Christians Watch

Image of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Pope Francis met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the preservation of Christian communities in the Middle East and the ... continue reading

Never Miss any Updates!

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

Catholic Online Logo

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.