Woe to us who let them suffer! For their witness is holy, but our indifference is an atrocity that is little short of unspeakable…
I’ve been so busy with work that I didn’t see the news that the Archbishop of Mosul, Paulos Faraj Rahho, had been found dead 2 weeks after he was kidnapped by gunmen. Then tonight I read Catholic Online‘s report:
Thousands of mourners gathered in the Christian village of Kremlis, Iraq today to bury Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, whose body was discovered yesterday…
Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, who is the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, wept as he led the funeral Mass for the archbishop and called on Christians not to seek revenge for their shepherd’s death…
An autopsy revealed that the prelate had been dead for five days before his body was recovered. It has not yet been announced whether Rahho died from natural causes or was killed–there were no bullet wounds to his body, according to AFP.
This is a horrific tragedy for the besieged Christians of Iraq, and we share their grief for the Archbishop’s death. It was painful to read about, as it is painful to think of now, and I cannot but weep for the martyred shepherd and his orphaned flock.
Does anyone weep for them? Does anyone care for the literally dying Church of Iraq and the Levant? The attention of the world has been riveted on elections in the US, Russia, and France, and on the escapades of Hollywood actresses deprived of moral compasses; but perhaps because the media finds the plight of the suffering less than “factual”, the news gives them little mention save when the act against them is too horrific to ignore, after which comes another indifferent silence.
Yet they suffer even with the cameras turned away, before and after the votes are counted and the thespians have entered rehab. In Darfur and Somalia, where hunger is a weapon of war, thousands starve amid the world’s apathy. When the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions were negotiated, the Vatican campaigned to have starvation of civilian populations outlawed: how little we have learned since then, that laws are useless without vigilance and compassion!
The Christians of Iraq are among the forgotten of the world, fading and dying as Europe appeases the ideologues who make the carnage possible, as America shouts useless I-told-you-sos to itself. They are like the Cossacks after Yalta, inconvenient barriers to “dialogue” whose cries must be kept from the airconditioned conference rooms where “bigger questions” are at stake. One wonders of course what issues could be more important than the lives and deaths of human beings with families torn by grief and outrage.
I take comfort only in this, that the Christians in Iraq are serving as witnesses to Christ, joined by baptism to the crucified God Who was rejected by those He loved unto death. By their passion united with His, they save us from our compromises and our follies, we who water down the Faith with v-monologues and pop liturgies and abandon it for money and megachurches, heedless of our brethren who die for holding to the truth.
For the one true Church is one Body of Christ, where the honor of one is the honor of all, and the loss of one is the loss of all. Thus the Christians of Iraq are martyred because of our neglect, even as their via dolorosa saves us; but woe the men through whom their sorrows come! for the souls of the slain cry out to the Lamb and will be revenged by the Divine Mercy Who is also Divine Justice. Woe to us who let them suffer! For their witness is holy, but our indifference that makes their witness necessary is an atrocity that is little short of unspeakable.
We must call upon the nations to come to their aid, call upon our legislators and governments to act and act now to save the people of Iraq, the victims of Darfur and Somalia, and all the suffering. We must make the world see what it chooses not to see, that amid the bourgeois complacency of the satisfied classes is a humanity that is locked in the jaws of hunger and dwells among the bullets of hate. We must write, e-mail, SMS, lobby, protest. The needy and afflicted can give us nothing in exchange, but our action is mandated by their humanity, which is but another tablet of the laws of God.
Father, grant Your servant Paulos Faraj Rahho eternal rest, and let perpetual light shine upon him, and may he rest in peace. Save Your Church in Iraq, the people among whom they dwell, and all the needy and suffering who suffer with Your Divine Son. We pray in His most holy Name. Amen.