Dear Colleagues and Friends . . .
In light of the growing crisis for Iraqi Christians, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in Geneva, spoke with Vatican Radio and expressed his perspective on an effective response of the international community.
“At this moment, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and other members of the Christian community, including the World Council of Churches, are taking a strong stand in defense [of the Iraqi Christians] and their right to survive and to live in peace in their own home, which for the last 2,000 years has seen them active and contributing to the development of the region.”
“However, 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.”
“Now there is action beginning on the part of the international community. We are talking about a special session here in Geneva with the Human Rights Council. There has been a special meeting of the Security Council in New York and some governments are beginning to express their suggestions for practical action in defense of these populations in northern Iraq and the United States has decided some military action.”
“I think, in the long run, what is needed is a dialogue of reconciliation and the acceptance of diversity in the different political and cultural contexts of the Middle East, so that a person is considered a citizen with equal rights and equal duties for the states, free to associate with other people who are of the same faith without being catalogued as a minority.”
“At this moment, we hope the voice that is surging from different Christian and religious communities, from moderate Muslims, 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.”
Pope sends plea for peace via Twitter
Displaced Iraqi citizens take refuge at St. Joseph Church in Ibril, in northern Iraq.
In a renewed plea for peace, Pope Francis sent the following message through his Twitter account today at 10:00 am: "I ask all Catholic parishes and communities to offer a special prayer this weekend for Iraqi Christians." #prayforpeace.
The pope sent a series of three message yesterday to urge Catholic faithful to pray and work for peace, in particular during this difficult time in Iraq and the Middle East.
Rev. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B.,
English language assistant to Holy See Press Office