Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 24 January |
Saint of the Day: St. Francis de Sales
home iconNews
line break icon

"Unconscionable" That World Is Silent in Face of Christian "Genocide," Archbishop Laments

Oliver Laumann-cc

Christian death notices (some in Armenian) in front of church, Damascus Old Town

John Burger - published on 03/10/16

Leader of Los Angeles archdiocese calls on Catholics to sign petition to State Department

The archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose H. Gomez, is urging Catholics to sign a petition to the U.S. government to declare that Christians are suffering a genocide in the Middle East.

It is widely believed that the Department of State is examining whether the Islamic State group’s treatment of Assyrian and other Iraqi and Syrian Christians constitutes genocide.

In a statement issued days before the State Department is expected to make the decision, Archbishop Gomez called it “unconscionable” that the government has remained silent while Christians undergo a martyrdom at the hands of radical Islamists.

“It is clear that what the so-called Islamic State is doing to Christians and other minority groups in Iraq and Syria fits the United Nations’ definition — violence and killing with “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” he said. “The violence against Christians is as systematic as it is barbaric — Church leaders are assassinated, believers are murdered on a mass scale; there is torture, kidnapping for ransom and the systematic rape and sex slavery of Christian women and girls; there are forced conversions to Islam, the destruction of churches, monasteries and cemeteries; and the theft of ordinary families’ homes and businesses.”

Writing in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ online newspaper, the archbishop said that the Christian “witness of blood” that marked the early days of the Church continues today. He cited as an example the murder last week in Yemen of four sisters of the Missionaries of Charity.

“These sisters had been warned that an attack was coming but refused to leave the poor they served,” Archbishop Gomez said. “Violence and torture are the daily cost of discipleship for Christians all over the world today — but especially in the Middle East. And the world community — government leaders, international authorities, the media and sadly even local churches — do not seem all that concerned.”

He said that he recently signed a petition calling on the U.S. government to declare the situation facing Christians in Iraq and Syria a “genocide.”

The petition drive is being led by the Knights of Columbus.

He explained that the political designation of “genocide” is important because such a designation “gives the international community a moral claim to stop the violence and punish those responsible.

“It also gives a special status to Christians fleeing the persecution — a right to be treated as refugees, and to reclaim their homes and properties once the violence is ended,” he said.

As of Wednesday evening, the online petition had more than 61,000 signatures.

Tags:
Christians in the Middle EastIraqIslamic MilitantsKnights of ColumbusSyria
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
2
DAD, HOW DO I?
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on YouTube for kids with...
3
Philip Kosloski
What are the corporal works of mercy?
4
Philip Kosloski
When did Christians start praying the Hail Mary?
5
PHILIP RIVERS
Cerith Gardiner
Quarterback Philip Rivers' retirement announcement reflects his s...
6
CONSOLE
Philip Kosloski
What are the spiritual works of mercy?
7
EMOTIONAL
Bret Thoman, OFS
Need healing? An exorcist recommends this 12-word prayer
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.