A report over the weekend, however, suggested that the Vatican was applauding military action taken by the United States to drive ISIS back from the civilians trapped on Sinjar. That stance would be a departure from the usual call for finding solutions through peaceful, diplomatic means.
The Vatican’s representative at UN headquarters in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, told Vatican Radio that in the long run, the only solution to Iraq’s problems will come with “a dialogue of reconciliation and the acceptance of diversity,” with a regime that ensures equal rights for all.
Archbishop Tomasi said that until now there has been “a certain indifference at the practical level with the international community.”
But now, “we hope the voice that is surging from different Christian and religious communities, from moderate Muslims, from people of good will around the world, may find the response of concrete humanitarian assistance that is provided for the Christians in northern Iraq as well as some political and even effective military protection,” he said.
And today, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako said that because of the United States’ history of involvement in Iraq, it has the responsibility to take a leading role in solving the refugee problem, including using force against the Islamic terrorists.
“There are no signs of a quick solution for the fate of more than 100,000 people who fled from 13 villages in the Nineveh Plain,” Patriarch Sako wrote. “It is not possible to rely on the central government that is being formed as the process is going through troubled times. … It will require a good amount of time for a new government to bring back order and peace in the country. So before the harsh and heartbreaking realities further afflict these families, the United States of America, also due to their prior involvement in Iraq, the European Union and the league of Arab countries have the responsibility to act rapidly for a solution. They must clear the Nineveh Plain from all the elements of Jihadist Warriors and help these displaced families return to their ancestral villages and reconstitute their lives so that they can conserve and practice their religion, culture and traditions through an active and effective international campaign until the central government and the regional government of Kurdistan become effective. It saddens me to think of them choosing migration as a viable option."
The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue yesterday called for Muslim leaders to denounce the brutality of IS militants, saying there was no possible justification for their "unspeakable crimes."
The council said Islamic State militants were guilty of the "heinous practice of decapitation, crucifixion and stringing up bodies in public places," insisting that "no reason, certainly not religion, could justify such barbarism."
The Council of European Bishops’ Conferences also sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council, calling on the international community to take urgent “decisions to put an end to the atrocious actions against Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq.”
John Burger is news editor for Aleteia’s English edition.