Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – “Words of distress, condemnation and incrimination are no longer enough in the face of the horror that is taking place repeatedly in Iraq, especially with regard to Christians over the past years and which reached a pinnacle of savage insanity with the massacre on Sunday” in Baghdad, the bishops of the Holy Land said in a statement released yesterday in Jerusalem.
We “incline ourselves before the bodies of these heroic martyrs, the sufferings of the innocent wounded, the pain of the relatives of the victims and the injured,” the statement said.
“The Church of the Holy Land, reaching out to her sister in Iraq, appeals to the conscience of each and every one in authority there, starting with the Iraqi government, to be vigilant in protecting all her citizens, especially those who have no protection, those who have no weapons and no militias, their only guilt being that they maintain their faith, in the land of their fathers and grandfathers.”
“This land is their land since time immemorial; they have sacrificed in its service, contributed to its flourishing, and defended it with everything they have. The time has come for those who are responsible to own up to their responsibility, to stand up to those who have lost any sense of humanity, curbing their insatiable thirst for blood and reckoning with and punishing anyone who plans or carries out such criminal acts.”
The region’s Catholic ordinaries also call on the Arab League, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the United Nations and the Security Council, “before it is too late”, to be cognizant of “the danger of those who seek to exploit religions for the purpose of a clash of civilizations”.
In order to express their closeness to the victims, the bishops announced three days of solidarity with the suffering Church of Iraq, days of prayer for the souls of Iraqi martyrs, today, tomorrow and Sunday, in every parish church, monastery and convent of the Holy Land.
“Our mission, as it was also expressed in the Synod for the Middle East two weeks ago, is that we live Communion and Witness, that we work together, Christians and Muslims, in the building up and awakening of our countries and our peoples, investing effort together in the establishment of peace and stability, on the basis of mutual trust”.