Skip to comments.Francisí Outlook on the Conflict in Iraq
Posted on 08/19/2014 4:01:59 PM PDT by NYer
Today we are in a world at war, everywhere! Someone told me: you know, Father, that we are witnessing the Third World War - but waged in chunks, in different chapters. Francis words on war, and on the bombs that kill both guilty and innocent alike, hitting women and children, describe the grim reality of today, rather than display a fear for a new imminent World War.
And that is why on the face of the tragic conflict in Iraq, and the ISIS extremists who carry out a massacre of religious minorities, the Pope, while reiterating the traditional position of the Catechism, stating that it is necessary to halt unjust aggression, clearly specified that to halt does not equal to bomb. He moreover added that, contrary to what is happening, the international community, rather than a single nation, must decide how and when to intervene.
The situation is tragic, and violence must be stopped. But we must never forget what happened in this region due to previous unjust wars, fought in order to export democracy or eliminate weapons of mass destructions that were never found. In 2003, John Paul II cried out with all the strength left in him to plead against the onset of a war in Iraq. Today, the issue is not whether to wage another war but end the massacres; a situation resembling the one in Kosovo at the end of the 1990s. Then, Pope John Paul II and the Holy See hoped for an intervention under the aegis of the UN, with peacekeeping forces, to stop the ethnic cleansing.
It was decided for a NATO intervention, characterised by smart bombs that never turn out to be that smart. This explains why, although confronting a tragic situation and the urgency of an intervention that is deemed legitimate in order to halt violence, Francis asks for an upsurge of conscience within the international community, instead of straightforward support for an American intervention.
We must also not forget, in the words of the Pope, the emphasis he laid on the fact that different religious minorities are victims of violence, not only Christians. Certainly the followers of Christ risk extinction in areas where they have been present for two millennia. But it must not be forgotten that ISIS has targeted Shiite Muslims too, as well as persecuting other religious groups, such as the Yazidi.
To represent current events as a showdown between Christianity and Islam, requesting new crusades, is an oversimplification which results in the ideological exploitation even of martyrdom. Thus, there is the risk of complicating further the situation that should be resolved, by identifying with the West those Christians who have also been citizens of Middle Eastern countries for the past 2000 years.
So no bombs Francis? Swords or bayonets seem to be the only weapons that are ‘just’. Just as dim on this subject as economics. Who is the Pope going to pay to fight this war for him? No bombs allowed, what a dope!
Cut the Pope some slack. He has already gone further to endorse a military response to fanatical Islam than his recent predecessors. Much further.
You are exactly right. Little George was warned what his boneheaded invasion of Iraq would do to the country and Iraq’s Christians. He could have cared less. His half-brother now sitting in the White House is just as bad.
Prayer for Iraq
O God, who art the unsearchable abyss of peace,
the ineffable sea of love, the fountain of blessings
and the bestower of affection,
who sendest peace to those that receive it;
Open to us this day the sea of thy love
and water us with plenteous streams
from the riches of thy grace
and from the most sweet springs of thy kindness.
Make us children of quietness and heirs of peace,
enkindle in us the fire of thy love;
sow in us thy fear;
strengthen our weakness by thy power;
bind us closely to thee and to each other
in our firm and indissoluble bond of unity:
Syrian Clementine Liturgy (in: For all God’s people; p. 73)
The full text of Patriarch Sako’s prayer for peace follows:
The plight of our country
is deep and the suffering of Christians
is severe and frightening.
Therefore, we ask you Lord
to spare our lives, and to grant us patience,
and courage to continue our witness of Christian values
with trust and hope.
Lord, peace is the foundation of life;
Grant us the peace and stability that will enable us
to live with each other without fear and anxiety,
and with dignity and joy.
Glory be to you forever. Amen.
Litany for Iraq
For lasting peace in this ancient land – From you, O Lord.
For wisdom and compassion for all in authority – From you, O Lord.
For comfort for families separated or bereaved – From you, O Lord.
For the release of captives – From you, O Lord.
For safety and security for minority communities.
For refreshment for the weary and healing for the sick – From you, O Lord.
For continuing faithfulness of the ancient churches of this land – From you, O Lord.
For tenacity of spirit for small Christian groups – From you, O Lord.
For the mutual enrichment and support of those of different Christian traditions – From you, O Lord.
You, Lord of all, we confess;
You, Lord Jesus, we glorify;
For you are the life of our bodies
And you are the Saviour of our souls.
The response in the litany and this hymn both come from the Chaldean liturgy. The ancient hymn celebrates Christ the source of resurrection in all situations of death and deprivation. (in: With All God’s People, p. 21, 22)
Father God, Our Savior and King,
We come to You in despair over the evil being done to our Middle East Christian brothers and sisters. We ask that You would put Your hand of protection upon them and that You would sustain them as You did the Israelites in the desert. Lord, cause our brothers and sisters to cry out to You for help and show them the peace that only You can give in answer to their needs. In their darkest moments, Lord, keep them, strengthen them, and comfort them. When they despair that no one is coming to help them, Lord, reveal Your glory and restore their souls.
We ask you these things in the blessed name of Your precious son, Jesus Christ.