Attack on Iraqi Cathedral Highlights Anti-Christian Violence

US Bishops Say Their Country has Moral Obligation to Help

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WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 2, 2010 ( At the conclusion of the recent Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishop, Benedict XVI said: «Peace is possible. Peace is urgent. Peace is the indispensible condition for a life of dignity for individuals and society.»

Yet, on Sunday, the Syrian Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad was attacked, leaving 58 dead and 75 wounded. The event has shocked and horrified the people of Iraq, as well as Christians around the world.

At the synod, the Iraqi bishops told of the terrorism and violence Christians, as well as other minorities, are facing: kidnappings, bombings of churches, schools and other Christian properties, and threats to Christian businesses, as well as to their lives. Combined with the attack on the cathedral, these all point to the fact that there is a basic lack of security in the area.

Christians have been forced to leave their homes in search of safety, with little hope of returning to Iraq in the near future. According to a statement released by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the synod called for the international community to help Iraq «put an end to the consequences of a deadly war and to reestablish security, something which will protect all its citizens.»

«Having invaded Iraq,» said Cardinal George, «the U.S. government has a moral obligation not to abandon those Iraqis who cannot defend themselves.» He adds, «We stand with the bishops, Church and people of Iraq in their urgent search for greater security, freedom and protection.»

Prior to the U.S. military intervention in Iraq, the conference of bishops raised moral questions regarding the maneuver, and later called for a «responsible transition.»

While they «welcome the end of U.S. led combat in Iraq,» the bishops are calling on the U.S. government to follow through on its responsibility to work with the Iraqi government to put an end to the violence. The U.S. bishops agree with their Iraqi counterparts that the United States failed to help Iraqis develop definitive ways of protecting themselves and securing safe living conditions, especially for the most vulnerable, including Christians, refugees and other minority groups.

«We offer our payers and solidarity with the suffering Christians of Iraq at this terrible time of loss and horrific violence,» said Cardinal George.

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