We have all been following with a marked reaction of horror what has been unfolding in Iraq. A terrorist group (ISIS also referred to as ISIL) has overrun parts of Syria and Iraq with a stated goal of establishing a new caliphate to spread their particular brand of reactionary Islam. This group has been merciless in imposing Islamic faith and Islamic law on the people whom they conquer. Christians are particularly targeted. They are forced to convert to Islam, and if they refuse to do so they are forced to flee for their lives. Already significant numbers of Christians and Kurds have been savagely, even barbarically executed. Whole Christian communities are disappearing everywhere in the region and if this is not stopped, there will be very few, if any Christians left in Iraq.
Pope Francis has vehemently condemned the violence that is overrunning Iraq. He and his predecessors have repeatedly condemned any kind of violence done in the name of religion. In this instance, while we note that the perpetrators are Islamic fundamentalists, we must also make a distinction between these backward, oppressive zealots and mainline Muslims, many of whom are equally horrified at what is taking place. Indeed, Muslims themselves who do not adhere to the warped vision of Islam promoted by ISIS/ISIL could also be subject to severe persecution and even death.
In our prayers, we have been asked by the Holy Father and also Archbishop Blair to include each day fervent prayer for peace in Iraq and in the Middle East on a broader scale. We should also keep in prayer the Christians and those Muslims who are being placed in an intolerable situation. May God deliver them from the scourge of bigotry and hatred that is sweeping the Middle East at this time.
By way of information, the Parish Picnic will be held on Sunday, October 5, from 12:30 to 4:30. Tickets will go on sale in the near future.
Rev. Aidan N. Donahue
© 2010 Saint Mary Church, Milford, Connecticut