28 August 2014

Cardinal Vegliò: "We must do something" about the Iraqi Christians

After meeting today with His Holiness Pope Francis, His Eminence Antonio Maria Cardinal Vegliò, President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants, granted an interview with Vatican Radio in which he echoed words I preached just a few weeks ago concerning the dire situation of Christians in Iraq suffering under the Islamic State.

Recalling the situation in Germany of many decades ago, His Eminence said:
It would be the same thing as when Hitler killed the Jews, and afterwards many said "no, no, we did not know anything." It is total hypocrisy. We must do something.
In my homily, I quoted Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, who was martyred in the gas chambers at Auschwitz:
Right before our eyes another such genocide is occurring at this very moment in Iraq – we have seen the pictures! What is more, we have known this was coming for months, and we did nothing! History will look back upon us and condemn us with the same questions we asked about Hitler’s Germany: “How did they allow this to happen? How did they not see it coming? Why did they say nothing? Why did they do nothing?” Among the many victims in the camp at Auschwitz was a Carmelite nun, Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, whose feast day we celebrated yesterday. She was born to Jewish parents and given the name Edith Stein. She abandoned Judaism for atheism in her teenage years and became a renowned philosopher whose thought deeply influenced Saint John Paul II. Before her martyrdom in the gas chambers, she said, “Those who remain silent are responsible.” She directed her words to those of her own day, and they are equally directed at those of our own day. Yes, those who remain silent are responsible!
How long must our persecuted brothers and sisters wait before we finally do something serious to help them?


If you think the analogy between what the Islamic State is doing to Christians (and others) and what Hitler did to the Jews (and others), you should have a conversation with His Beatitude Ignace Joseph III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syrians, who recently called the actions of the Islamic State "pure and simple religious cleansing and attempted genocide."

Then there are the words of His Beatitude Louis Raphael I Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, that "silence and passivity will encourage IS fundamentals to commit more tragedies."

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