Cardinal: US Has "Moral Obligation" to Aid Iraq

Urges President Obama to Protect Iraqi Chrisitians

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WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 15, 2010 ( Prompted by the rash of violent attacks aimed at Iraqi Christians, the U.S. bishops are reminding President Barack Obama of the country’s moral obligation «not to abandon those Iraqis who cannot defend themselves.»

Chicago Cardinal Francis George, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a letter last week to the U.S. president, in which he referenced the Oct. 31 attack on Baghdad’s Syriac Catholic Cathedral, which left 58 dead and 75 wounded, as well as other violent outbreaks in the city. The letter earned the support today of the entire bishops’ conference, who are meeting this week for their fall assembly.

He described the incidents as «grim evidence of the savage violence and lack of security that has plagued the Iraqi people […] for over seven years.» He also addressed reports that the attack on the cathedral «may have been more extensive and the failures of security more egregious than originally thought.»

In his correspondence, Cardinal George relayed that, at the recent Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, Iraqi bishops shared stories of the environment of terror that Christians and other minorities are experiencing, including murder, kidnapping, and bombings, forcing Christians to abandon their homes and businesses.

The letter referenced a statement given by Archbishop Athanase Matti Shaba Matoka of the Syriac Catholic Church in Iraq two weeks before the attack on his cathedral. Addressing the synod fathers at the assembly in Rome, he stated that «the invasion of Iraq by America and its allies brought to Iraq in general, and especially to its Christians, destruction and ruin on all levels.»

«Seven years have passed and Christianity is still bleeding,» the archbishop continued. «Where is the world conscience?»


While Cardinal George commended the U.S. troops for their brave service, and expressed approval for the end of combat in Iraq, he said that the United States has failed to protect the Iraqi people and has a moral obligation to assist displaced and defenseless Iraqi’s.

The Cardinal suggested several issues that the U.S. must undertake to help Iraq become more self-sufficient, among them: to help the Iraqi military and police provide security for all citizens, improve the judicial system and rule of law, rebuild Iraq’s economy and protect human rights, especially religious freedom.

«Having invaded Iraq,» Cardinal George wrote, «our nation has a moral obligation not to abandon those Iraqis who cannot defend themselves.»

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