Catholics and other Christians often appeal to the Just War doctrine of St. Augustine to decide whether force is justified in combatting armed evil. Many Christians have the de facto position of "Never." But that usually is a mask for indifference or, worse, appeasement, as it was for many pacifists before World War II. Church congregations routinely are asked to pray for various persecuted and victimized peoples around the world, but somehow there seldom is any mention of Christians. Yet fellow Christians, one would think, should elicit especial concern, since the future of the Church is plainly challenged by persecution, and especially now by the arrant genocide going on in the Middle East.
I have been appalled by the reluctance of Christian officials to speak out in defense of Christians in an age when martyrs are more numerous than ever before, or at least since the initial waves of Muslim conquests from the 8th to 15th centuries. Only in recent weeks has the Pope seeming seemed to call for a military response, though even so he is eager to hedge his advice with various cautions and limitations. And yet we have the wrench appeal of the Archbishop of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Mosul, Iraq, whose own captured cathedral church has become a headquarters for the murderous ISIS regime that beheads opponents, shoots others, rapes others and sells women and children into slavery. Remember, please, that the Christians were in Mosul and other parts of the Middle East hundreds of years before the first Muslims and have not been persecuted in this way since the Mongol invasions of the 13th century. ISIS is a new group, not an old one, in any case, and has no standing whatever to impose its rule on anyone.
Says Archbishop Amel Nona, "Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future. I lost my diocese. The physical setting of my apostolate has been occupied by Islamic radicals who want us converted or dead. But my community is still alive.
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