Reflections on the Teaching of Vatican II Through the Magisterium of John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Who Will Stand Up for the Christians?
By RONALD S. LAUDERAUG. 19, 2014
WHY is the world silent
while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa? In Europe
and in the United States, we have witnessed demonstrations over the tragic
deaths of Palestinians who have been used as human shields by Hamas, the
terrorist organization that controls Gaza. The United Nations has held
inquiries and focuses its anger on Israel for defending itself against that
same terrorist organization. But the barbarous slaughter of thousands upon
thousands of Christians is met with relative indifference.
The Middle East and parts
of central Africa are losing entire Christian communities that have lived in
peace for centuries. The terrorist group Boko Haram has kidnapped and killed
hundreds of Christians this year — ravaging the predominantly Christian town of
Gwoza, in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, two weeks ago. Half a million
Christian Arabs have been driven out of Syria during the three-plus years of
civil war there. Christians have been persecuted and killed in countries from
Lebanon to Sudan.
Historians may look back
at this period and wonder if people had lost their bearings. Few reporters have
traveled to Iraq to bear witness to the Nazi-like wave of terror that is
rolling across that country. The United Nations has been mostly mum. World
leaders seem to be consumed with other matters in this strange summer of 2014.
There are no flotillas traveling to Syria or Iraq. And the beautiful
celebrities and aging rock stars — why doesn’t the slaughter of Christians seem
to activate their social antennas?
President Obama should be
commended for ordering airstrikes to save tens of thousands of Yazidis, who
follow an ancient religion and have been stranded on a mountain in northern
Iraq, besieged by Sunni Muslim militants. But sadly, airstrikes alone are not
enough to stop this grotesque wave of terrorism.
The Islamic State in Iraq
and Syria (ISIS) is not a loose coalition of jihadist groups, but a real
military force that has managed to take over much of Iraq with a successful
business model that rivals its coldblooded spearhead of death. It uses money
from banks and gold shops it has captured, along with control of oil resources
and old-fashioned extortion, to finance its killing machine, making it perhaps
the wealthiest Islamist terrorist group in the world. But where it truly excels
is in its carnage, rivaling the death orgies of the Middle Ages. It has
ruthlessly targeted Shiites, Kurds and Christians.
“They actually beheaded
children and put their heads on a stick” a Chaldean-American businessman named
Mark Arabo told CNN, describing a scene in a Mosul park. “More children are
getting beheaded, mothers are getting raped and killed, and fathers are being
This week, 200,000
Aramaeans fled their ancestral homeland around Nineveh, having already escaped
The general indifference
to ISIS, with its mass executions of Christians and its deadly preoccupation
with Israel, isn’t just wrong; it’s obscene.
In a speech before thousands of Christians in
Budapest in June, I made a solemn promise that just as I will not be silent in
the face of the growing threat of anti-Semitism in Europe and in the Middle
East, I will not be indifferent to Christian suffering. Historically, it has
almost always been the other way around: Jews have all too often been the
persecuted minority. But Israel has been among the first countries to aid
Christians in South Sudan. Christians can openly practice their religion in
Israel, unlike in much of the Middle East.
This bond between Jews
and Christians makes complete sense. We share much more than most religions. We
read the same Bible, and share a moral and ethical core. Now, sadly, we share a
kind of suffering: Christians are dying because of their beliefs, because they
are defenseless and because the world is indifferent to their suffering.
Good people must join
together and stop this revolting wave of violence. It’s not as if we are
powerless. I write this as a citizen of the strongest military power on earth.
I write this as a Jewish leader who cares about my Christian brothers and
The Jewish people
understand all too well what can happen when the world is silent. This campaign
of death must be stopped.
Papal Envoy: Iraqi Minorities Facing Genocide, Calls
For Urgent Action
Cardinal Filoni Appeals to International Community
to Intervene, Says Visit of "Great Benefit"
By Staff Reporter
BAGHDAD, August 20, 2014 (Zenit.org) - The Pope’s
special envoy to Iraq has said Christians and religious minorities in the
country are facing genocide and the international community must act quickly to
come to their aid.
In an interview with the Italian bishops’
newspaper Avvenire Wednesday, Cardinal Fernando Filoni said Iraqis have
told him the world must urgently help them and “not wait until they are in a
“We are faced with a tragedy that is genocide,”
Cardinal Filoni said, “because when all the men are taken and killed, when
women are robbed, taken away, their dignity violated in the worst human way and
then sold, then you are destroying these people, knowing that in this way they
will no longer have a future.”
The special envoy, who has been in Iraq and
Jordan since Aug. 12, was speaking after celebrating Mass in Ankawa, an
Assyrian suburb of Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. Pope Francis sent Cardinal
Filoni to the region after Islamic State terrorists brutally drove Christians
and Yazidis from their homes in northern Iraq.
Asked about offering the religious minorities
international protection, the Church diplomat echoed comments made by other Church
leaders in suggesting that military action is necessary but on a multilateral
basis. The international community “must intervene to take responsibility for
the situation and not only morally,” he said. “It’s nice to say we defend these
people, but they are dying. How can they be removed from the clutches of these
predators? There’s already an answer.”
He said a “stable solution” must be found to the
refugee crisis, and that the primary responsibility for dealing with those
displaced rests with the civil authorities, but with help from international
bodies such as the United Nations and the European Union. “We must act at
different levels and with different capacities,” he said.
The special envoy said his presence on behalf of
the Pope has been much appreciated. “My visit has been of great benefit,” he
said. Thousands, he said, have told him and the authorities: “Thank you for
coming to see how we are”, “please don’t forget about us,” and “tell people
“As a pastor,” Cardinal Filoni added, “I feel
that these are the forgotten sheep that, as Pope Francis said, we must take on
our shoulders.” He said the local church, bishops and patriarchy have all
"given an extraordinary hand", and although they alone cannot give
hope, "we promise to be always present." He added that “walking
in the midst” of the Iraqi people “gives us strength and gives them strength to
want to continue living here.”
“As [Iraq’s] President Barzani said, ‘This is a
mosaic of large stones and small stones, but even removing only one piece of
the jigsaw, we are no longer the same: this is not Iraq.’ We must ensure that
these stones do not fall, but are part of this coexistence. We must find a
means to foster peaceful coexistence.”