Fr. Raymond de Souza had a comment about the massacre of Catholic Christians in Baghdad. This is from Catholic Education Resource Center with my emphases and comments.
His Wrath Upon Their Heads
FATHER RAYMOND J. DE SOUZA
The blood of Baghdad screams out to heaven and earth. [The phrase is evocative. The phrase “screams out to heaven” can only be completed in a certain way.]
There has been an orgy of violence in Iraq this week, as terrorists have set off a series of bombs, murdering well over 100 people. But what happened last Sunday was so utterly horrific that it merits special, and thunderous, condemnation, backed up with lethal force if necessary.
On Sunday, an al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist group stormed into the cathedral of the Syriac Catholic Church, Our Lady of Deliverance, during the evening Mass. They immediately killed the priest offering the Holy Mass – three priests in all were murdered. They began shooting members of the congregation, and held hostage others who took refuge in a locked room. When the security forces stormed the church, the jihadists killed as many as they could, and some of them set off the suicide bombs on their belts.
Close to 60 Catholics were killed. In their cathedral. At Mass. It has now come to this, where Christians are killed at prayer by Muslim fanatics. [It sounds very much as if they were killed precisely from hatred of Catholicism.]
Christians have been in Iraq from the earliest centuries, long before there was an Iraq or, one might note, there was Islam. Jihadists have launched a campaign with genocidal intent, aimed at driving out every last Christian from what they consider to be an Islamic land. It is now clear that the only place such jihadists envision for Christians in Iraq is the grave.
The Catholic archbishop has been killed. Priests have been riddled with bullets upon leaving their churches. Ordinary Christians, trying to live a quiet life, have been subject to harassment, threats and violence. Iraq in the aftermath of the American invasion has been particularly dangerous, but antiChristian violence stretches across the Islamic world.
“Christians are slaughtered in Iraq, in their homes and churches, and the so-called ‘free’ world is watching in complete indifference, interested only in responding in a way that is politically correct and economically opportune, but in reality is hypocritical,” said Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan after these latest killings.
Indeed, the international community issued the usual boilerplate condemnations, most of them refusing to identify those responsible. [This is the usual situation.] The same statements could have been used had the Rotarians decided to massacre the Salvation Army. In the Church, too, there is often a reluctance to support vigorously Christians under attack, and to call things by name.
“As in the past and still existent today, some imbalances are present in our relations,” is how the final statement of the recent Vatican Synod of Bishops on the Middle East characterized Christian-Muslim relations. Imbalances? As in the imbalance between the jihadist throwing the grenade and the Catholic family being blown up?
The blood on the altar makes it clear. No amount of goodwill, no amount of dialogue, no amount of circumlocutory evasions, no amount of supine prostrations – nothing will dissuade the jihadists. So let us not abnegate ourselves over the dead bodies of our fallen brethren in Christ. Let us speak frankly of those who want to kill us.
Allahu Akbar – God is great! So those Catholics on Sunday heard the jihadists shout in the church. Can there be any greater sacrilege than to kill the innocent at prayer, while shouting that God is great?
The jihadists respect neither man nor God, not even their own. They have killed their fellow Muslims and bombed mosques. The Christians killed on Sunday were Iraqis, their fellow Arabs, their fellow citizens, their neighbours. They kill because they are seized with a murderous hatred. The least we can do is to summon a righteous anger in return. [I wonder if this needs to be expanded with a review of the tenets of Islam concerning the spread of Islam and dealings with the infidel.]
The Christian always hopes for conversion and offers forgiveness. There must also be justice and prudence, and prudence demands that those who would kill in the name of God are best despatched quickly to their judgment.
Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. So Scripture teaches us, and so it must be for us, leaving vengeance to the Lord, and imploring the grace of conversion and reconciliation. But let us not blanch from raising our voices to the Lord, with righteous anger and hot tears, that He might visit His vengeance upon those who did this, bring down His wrath upon their heads and exact upon them a terrifying justice in full measure.
That’s not the language of imbalances; it is the anguish and agony of the shepherd when the flock is being slaughtered.
WDTPRS KUDOS to Fr. de Souza for his forthright comments.