Bagdad: The noble army of martyrs praise thee

You all have heard by now about the terrorist attack on the Catholic Church in Bagdad.  Here is The Catholic Herald on the attack.

Christians have been taking it on the chin in Iraq for a very long time.

9 Islamic terrorists with suicide bombs entered the church.  The first thing they did was shoot one of the three priests they would kill.  The demanded the release of al-Qaeda members held in Iraq and Egypt.

Al-Qaeda seems to be more in the news these days.

37 were killed and 56 wounded.

This is speculation on my part, but I wonder if targeting the Catholic Church specifically in this attack is blow back of some kind following the Synod on the Middle East.

The people killed in that church may have been killed because they were Catholic Christians, not just because they were a random easy target.

If they were targeted also because of hatred of Christ and his disciples, then the people who died, died as martyrs.

On the Feast of All Saints, when we celebrate also those whose names we do not now know, pray for the repose of the souls of those who die who did not die as martyrs.

Pray to the holy martyrs in heaven to help us in this time of need.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Did this kind of thing happen while Saddam was in power? We were focused on his other crimes, so I don’t remember if Catholics were murdered under his regime or not.

    Terrible report! I hope the murdered went straight to heaven.

  2. “Sowing in tears, they shall reap with joy.”
    Tragic and yet how beautiful to die for Jesus and His Churc h.

  3. traditionalorganist says:

    I believe that Tariq Aziz, now awaiting death, was the reason Christians were not persecuted under Saddam Hussein. Also, fear of backlash against Christians was a prime reason John Paul II was against the invasion of Iraq.

  4. Andy F. says:

    This scum has to be neutralized.

  5. Prof. Basto says:

    Unfortunately, Tina in Ashburn, the answer to your question is disconcerting, to say the least.

    I’m no defender of Saddam Hussein or of his brutal autoritarian rule, but, on this topic (the freedom and the security of Christians), it is true that Christians were more safe under his regime.

    Remember that Tarek Aziz, one of Saddam’s right hand men and foreign policy representative, was himself a Catholic, as a member of the Chaldean Catholic Church. The Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate numbered 1 and a half million faithful in the last years of Saddam’s dictactorship. Now their numbers are reduced to about 500,000 faithful, or one third of the former membership.

    Why is that? Because Saddam was a brutal dictator, but at least he was no Islamic fundamentalist. On the contrary, his regime was a secular one, and he kept religious radicals at bay. The Baathist regime in Iraq had a non-religious ideology. Several Sunni muslims occupied leading positions in government alongside Christians such as Aziz, and the Shias were divided between supporters of the Baath Party and supporters of the Iranian position. Shias who were not Baathists of course faced persecution. But what is the situation of Iraq now? It is a nominal democracy, the Shia majority has assumed control, but the Wahhabists and terrorist insurgents are out of control, and then, due to the proliferation of Islamic fundamentalists who can do as they please, it is now the Christians who are the first to be targeted for attacks. So the Christians are now less safe and less secure, although they may have formal religious toleration granted by the State (an incompetent state at keeping people safe, and a State that, under its current constitution, is an Islamic confessional state).

  6. Peggy R says:

    May these martyrs have eternal rest before Our Father in heaven.

    I suppose it might sound crazy, but I really don’t think so. In the first years after 9-11 when we still lived in NoVa, I often worried that terrorists could come into our Church (or any other church I suppose) and pull something like this. Is such a fear really that crazy after 19 men hijacked and flew commercial jets into skyscrapers and US defense HQ, killing thousands? We had also experienced a sniper–and American man who converted to Islam–randomly shooing innocents at gas stations and here and there. No, such a fear was not insane or unthinkable.

    We are in the midwest now. My huz is a contractor at a military installation. Now, we must consider the possibility of a Major Hassan at his base.

    I don’t live in daily fear, don’t get me wrong, but these are worries that we didn’t heretofore have to consider.

    And we see it has happened in Iraq. I have had complaints about W’s neglect of Christians in Iraq since the war–but I don’t blame him for this of course. Terrorists are who they are.

  7. Fr. Basil says:

    Alas, as of this morning, 52 were killed in this attack, though it is not known how many died in crossfire from the Iraqi security forces.

    The attackers were demanding, among other things, that the Pope free 2 women, wives of Coptic priests, who supposedly converted to mahometanism and were taken to monasteries for their safety–which is odd, as the Coptic church denies his jurisdiction over them.

    Why doesn’t the Christian world rise up and demand that mahometans pay for the restoration of churches that adherents of this religion destroyed?

  8. Shadow says:

    @irishgirl: Yes, you are right on the money. They were indeed killed because they were Catholic Christians.

  9. I would like to know how I’m posting comments too quickly, when I’ve only posted one…. Seriously, Father, if there’s a time limit, let us know what it is. I can’t afford to keep the browser open for an hour waiting to post, or risk having my post deleted by your browser software. There’s nothing worse than typing out several paragraphs plus links, and then seeing them vanish into Combox Limbo.

    Re: Hussein — Dictators only “protect” hated minorities in order to ensure that there are some groups which can’t afford to rebel against them, especially since “protection” makes the minorities more hated. In Hussein’s Iraq, “protection” was a relative thing, since of course this didn’t protect anyone from government murder, rape, abduction, and torture.

  10. EXCHIEF says:

    Irish Girl
    Unfortunately our so-called leaders really don’t care if there is a war on Catholicism or Christianity in general. Either out of political correctness or their own personal disdain for Christianity just about anything Islamists do is excused or defined as “our fault” (USA). How else could we explain politicians who are otherwise “woman’s rights” advocates and “protectors of children” ignoring the abuse of women and children which occurs in Islamist nations? Europe is beginning to wake up (too late) to the mistakes they have made in allowing Islam to flourish. The USA is making the same mistake and only a few people seem to realize it and/or care…..maybe (but I’m not holding out a lot of hope) tomorrow’s election will begin to change that. What will change it is prayer. St. Michael protect us.

  11. Steve K. says:

    Ah, the Religion of Peace strikes again.

    God bless our noble martyrs!

  12. danphunter1 says:

    I am ready and able to join the Crusade.

  13. Peggy R says:


    My experience has been if I am typing fast and hit “post” very quickly after my last text, that is when the “you are posting too quickly” message comes up. I think it’s not the frequency of posts, but the speed at which you type and then hit “post.” I think the system wants us to take a breath between the completion of text and hitting “post.”

    Fr Z can correct if my interpretation is incorrect.

  14. Supertradmum says:

    We, in America, live surrounded by radical Islamists preaching in mosques,(see link below), Black Islamists from the Nation of Islam, and black liberation politicans, who honestly believe that Mohamed and Jesus were liberation heroes and wanted to destroy the oppressors across the globe.

    The Catholic Church, to them, is the epitome of evil and oppression, a great oppressor of the poor, and the believer in the Messiah Christ. In their eyes, the Church must be destroyed, as the One Institution and Belief, which stands between them and the end time for which they are fighting. The individual issues, such as hostages, or girls in monasteries, are ruses, not the real issues; the real issue is the complete domination of Global Islam, under Allah, in this great Nation of Islam, which the terrorists believe it is their duty to set up. Also, especially in Iran and Iraq , it is the duty of every terrorist to prepare for the new Mahdi, the one who will usher in this era, when this direct descendant of Mohamed will return. Those Shi’is in Iraq and Iran firmly believe that they must prepare the world for the Mahdi’s coming, some believing that he is already on earth, “hidden”, that is in the “occultation” until nations are ripe for his coming. He is supposed to have said, and the Sunnis believe this as well as the Shi’is,”Rest assured that no one has a special relationship with Allah.
    Whoever denies me is not from my (community). The appearance of the
    Relief (al- Faraj) depends solely upon Allah. Therefore those who
    propose a certain time for it are liars. As to the benefit of my
    existence in occultation, it is like the benefit of the sun behind the
    clouds where the eyes do not see it. Indeed, my existence is an
    amnesty for inhabitants of the earth. Pray much to Allah to hasten the
    Relief, for therein also lies the release from your sufferings.”

    Jesus will follow him and prays for him, apparently.”Do you agree that Prophet Jesus (AS) is still alive? He is in fact 1,994 years old now. Of course, he is not living on Earth right now; he is living in the Heavens. But according to Muslim’s belief, he will come back to Earth, and will pray behind Imam al-Mahdi (AS)”

    All this information is on the official Mahdi site, which also calls for Islamic martyrs.
    has a list of coming up talks in Chicago on martyrdom-Islamic style.

    One reason why there is more terrorist activity now is that these groups believe the time is now to get ready for the Mahdi (see the movie “Khartoum”). To kill a priest or any Catholic, is to slowing, supposedly, bring down the Catholic Church, the largest group standing between the coming of the Mahdi and their new age of peace. The second largest institution standing between the new “golden age of Mohammedanism” and the terrorist, is America. The third is the European Community.

    To kill a priest or Catholics is to pave the way for the Mahdi.

  15. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    Where the Church is gaining ground, Islam is on the retreat. The Church IS THE ONLY INSTITUTION THAT STANDS IN THE BREACH.

    My ancestors did not fight the Muslim invasion of Europe a thousand years ago only to have Islam succeed because their descendants forgot or lost their faith because their parents never taught it to them.

  16. muckemdanno says:

    Christians have been taking it on the chin in Iraq since the U.S. Army invaded Iraq.

    The innocents killed are only “collateral” damage in the eyes of the engineers of this war…Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc.

  17. Prof. Basto says:

    There must be something wrong either with my browser or with the blog. Everybody is talking about Irishgirl’s comment, but I can’t find it on the thread.

  18. irishgirl says:

    Yes-I’m wondering why it’s not there, too-and I wrote it!
    Was I too harsh, Father Z? If I was, then I apologize.
    I just said that among our leaders today we don’t have a Charles Martel, an Isabella of Castile, or a John Sobieski of Poland….all we have are politicians. That’s all, full stop, period.
    The so-called ‘leaders’ of the West are too busy compromising and being politically correct to stand up to militant Islam.

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