Christians and all people in the Middle East need the solidarity of the US Catholic Church, said the chairmen of three committees of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the head of the Catholic Relief Services board.
‘A concern for our Christian brethren is inclusive and does not exclude a concern for all the peoples of the region who suffer violence and persecution, both minorities and majorities, both Muslims and Christians,’ said a statement from four bishops.
‘To focus attention on the plight of Christians and other minorities is not to ignore the suffering of others,’ the statement said. ‘Rather, by focusing on the most vulnerable members of society, we strengthen the entire fabric of society to protect the rights of all.’
The group included the Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace; Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the Committee on Migration; and Bishop Gregory Mansour of the Eparchy of St Maron of Brooklyn, New York, chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services.
The group pointed to the findings of a recent USCCB delegation to Iraq, which confirmed that Christians, Yezidis, Shi’ite Muslims and other minorities had experienced genocide at the hands of Daesh.
Picture: An Iraqi man inspects al-Tahira al-Kubra church near Mosul after it was liberated from Daesh. (CNS photo/Ahmed Jalil, EPA).