The carnage of Christians in the Catholic ‘den of idolatry’
The Pope has condemned the attack by Muslim terrorists upon Baghdad’s Roman Catholic community. He said he was praying for the victims ‘of this absurd violence, made more ferocious because it was directed against unarmed people gathered in the house of God’.
The slaughter took place in the Church of Our Lady of Salvation, which the terrorists referred to as a ‘den of idolatry’.
Presumably, the Mariolatry (or Maryamolatry) is what justified the taking of life.
In 1980, Roman Catholics constituted 2.89 percent of Iraq's population; by 2008, they were merely 0.89 percent.
Extremists have systematically attacked Christians in Iraq since the collapse of Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime.
In this latest atrocity, terrorists from an Al-Qaeda affiliate called the ‘Islamic State of Iraq’ took more than a hundred hostages during Mass and then exploded devices packed with ball bearings. They then executed some surviving hostages before Iraqi counterterrorism troops stormed the building. The death toll among the parishioners and Iraqi forces who broke the siege stands at 58, with around 75 wounded, some seriously.
Among those killed during the attack were Fr. Wasim Sabieh and Fr. Thaier Saad Abdal. A third priest, Fr Qatin, was wounded and died later in the hospital.
According to the terrorist group’s website, they were infuriated over the alleged actions of Egyptian Copts on behalf of two women who had converted to Islam, and said it 'lit the fuse' for a campaign against Iraqi Christians.
Expressing its grief for the survivors and the families of the victims, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has issued a statement expressing its outrage at the indifference of the international community. They said: “The only thing more outrageous than the systematic slaughter of families gathered in their place of worship is the overwhelming silence at this heinous act.”
“As Jews, over the course of history we have learned what it is like to a targeted and powerless minority. In 2010, Christians in their historical communities in Iraq and throughout much of the Middle East are victims of a pattern of incitement aimed at destroying or driving them out of societies they have contributed too for centuries,” added Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Centre’s director of Interfaith Affairs. “Americans should reflect on the pathological intolerance that too often targets Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus. Turning a blind eye to such attacks will only mean the deaths of more innocents, and in many cases, the disappearance of ancient communities.”
The Anglican Friends of Israel also issued a statement condemning the atrocity, highlighting the barefaced hypocrisy of the terrorists for murdering dozens of Christians in defence of two Egyptian Coptic women allegedly being held against their will by their families having converted willingly to Islam.
In fact Barnabas Fund reports frequent kidnappings of Egyptian Christian women by Egyptian Muslims. The women are then pressured or forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men.
There is an ongoing war against Middle Eastern Christians by Islamic terrorists, and the AFI say this highlights the absurdity of recent claims by Middle Eastern Catholic leaders that Israel's existence is the reason for the decline in Christian numbers across the Middle East.
And both the AFI and the Simon Wiesenthal Center called for the Pope to dissociate himself from the political and theological attacks on the Jewish state by Roman Catholic bishops, and to recall how very recently the Catholic Church apologised for its former persecution of Jews and renounced the Replacement Theology that persuaded so many Christians that hatred of Jews was acceptable.
His Grace was accused of misleading his readers when he posted on this a few days ago, allegedly attributing a higher status to the comments of Archbishop Cyrille Salim Bustros than they apparently merited.
One communicant responded: “Some Melekite (sic) bishop spouted off about the chosen people and you then implied that this was the Pope's position. I didn't expect this from you.”
His Grace only pointed out that this was a Vatican Synod on the Middle East.
A Vatican Synod is an authoritative meeting of bishops for the purpose of church administration in the areas of teaching (faith and morals) or governance (church discipline or law), and takes place under the ultimate authority of the Pope.
Almost two weeks on, the Pope has neither denounced Archbishop Bustros’ comments nor disassociated the Holy See from the proposition that:
“We Christians cannot speak about the promised land for the Jewish people. There is no longer a chosen people. All men and women of all countries have become the chosen people. The concept of the promised land cannot be used as a base for the justification of the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of Palestinians... The justification of Israel ’s occupation of the land of Palestine cannot be based on sacred scriptures.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center said: “This political stunt, wrapped in theological garb, not only insults every Jew but flies in the face of the statements and actions of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, both who have visited Israel and expressed solidarity with her people.”
“The Archbishop’s statement comes at the end of the conference wherein the so-called Palestine Kairos Document – which openly denies the right of Israel to be a Jewish state – was presented at the Vatican for the first time. These developments demand immediate action by the Pope. Hopes for peace in the Middle East will only come when both sides recognize the rights of the others. These latest moves, left unchallenged, will damage interfaith relations and embolden anti-Semites and terrorists.”
His Grace awaits His Holiness.
In the context of the appalling atrocities being committed by professing Muslims in the Middle East against both Christians and Jews, silence from the Holy See is not an option.