November 2, 2010

President of U.S. Bishops Offers Prayers, Solidarity with Iraqi Christians, Says U.S. Has Moral Obligation to Help

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), offered the prayers of the U.S. bishops and expressed solidarity with the suffering Christians of Iraq following the October 31 attack on the Syrian Catholic cathedral in Baghdad that killed 58 people and wounded 75.

“We stand with the bishops, Church and people of Iraq in their urgent search for greater security, freedom and protection,” said Cardinal George in a November 1 statement. “We call upon the United States to take additional steps to help Iraq protect its citizens, especially the most vulnerable.”Cardinal George echoed the recent expression of sorrow of Pope Benedict XVI, as well as the pope’s concluding message from the recent Synod of Bishops on the Middle East: “Peace is possible. Peace is urgent. Peace is the indispensable condition for a life of dignity for individuals and society.”

Cardinal George noted that, at the Synod on the Middle East, Iraqi bishops addressed the challenges facing their people, including kidnappings, bombings and threats against businesses and livelihoods.

Cardinal George also said that, while the U.S. bishops welcomed the end of U.S. military operations in Iraq, “we share the Iraqi bishops’ concern that the United States failed to help Iraqis in finding the political will and concrete ways needed to protect the lives of all citizens, especially Christians and other vulnerable minorities, and to ensure that refugees and displaced persons are able to return to their homes safely. Having invaded Iraq, the U.S. government has a moral obligation not to abandon those Iraqis who cannot defend themselves.”

Read the full statement.

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