Christian response to Violence?
What are the responses of Irish parishes to ongoing conflicts in so many areas of the world and the horrific loss of life and suffering being inflicted on so many?
Brendan Butler sent the following message;
It is time that a debate be opened on the continuing massacre of the innocents in Gaza. Various arguments are used to avoid ‘taking sides’. Some maintain that by criticising the State of Israel for their disproportionate use of force in Gaza will only increase anti Semitism in our society . Some maintain that Hamas is deliberately wishing their own destruction as if their children are not as important to them as ours are to us . Hamas ‘s continued firing of rockets at Israel is a provocation and a threat to Israeli people and is to be condemned. However, as Christians and having Abraham as our common Father in Faith should not blind us into maintaining a silence in the face of a grave injustice against the largely Islamic people of Gaza. Instead it should spur us on to greater efforts in every way possible to bring about a just solution to this one sided ‘war’. Islam too claim Abraham as their father in faith also. This is seen in many ways as another expression of the western world’s indifference to Islamic people under siege. However for me it is a crime piercing the heart of God to ‘see’ the continuing massacre of his children as we continue to raise our eyes to heaven from our comfortable fence seats.
Pope Francis asks us to remember Christians who are being persecuted in Iraq;
Statement of the Director of the Press Office on behalf of the Holy Father
(7 August 2014)
The Holy Father is following with deep concern the dramatic news reports coming from northern Iraq, which involve defenseless populations. Christian communities are particularly affected: a people fleeing from their villages because of the violence that rages in these days, wreaking havoc on the entire region.
At the Angelus prayer on July 20th, Pope Francis cried with pain: “[O]ur brothers and sisters are persecuted, they are pushed out, forced to leave their homes without the opportunity to take anything with them. To these families and to these people I would like to express my closeness and my steadfast prayer. Dearest brothers and sisters so persecuted, I know how much you suffer, I know that you are deprived of everything. I am with you in your faith in Him who conquered evil!”
In light of these terrible developments, the Holy Father renews his spiritual closeness to all those who are suffering through this painful trial, and makes the impassioned appeals of the local bishops his own, asking together with them in behalf of their sorely tried communities, that the whole Church and all the faithful raise up with one voice a ceaseless prayer, imploring the Holy Spirit to send the gift of peace.
His Holiness urgently calls on the international community to protect all those affected or threatened by the violence, and to guarantee all necessary assistance – especially the most urgently needed aid – to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others.
The Pope also appeals to the conscience of all people, and to each and every believer he repeats: “May the God of peace create in all an authentic desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is not conquered with violence. Violence is conquered with peace! Let us pray in silence, asking for peace; everyone, in silence…. Mary Queen of peace, pray for us!” (Angelus, July 20, 2014).
Response of one parish Council in Brisbane.
About 130 people gathered at parish, on Sunday, August 3, at 3pm for an Ecumenical Vigil to pray for peace in Iraq and other troubled parts of the world.
At the vigil, our parish launched an ongoing prayer campaign – pray@8 – in this we are encouraging others in Brisbane archdiocese and beyond to join in. The aim is for people to stop at 8pm each night in their own homes to be united in prayer.
Explaining the campaign at the vigil, Val Smith, a member of the parish’s women’s prayer group said “8pm Brisbane time is about 1pm, lunchtime and a time for prayer in Iraq … and so it’s a perfect time to be united with our brothers and sisters”.
Fr Gerry has informed Archbishop (Bashar) Warda in Northern Iraq of our intention to pray together at 8pm. We invite each of you and your friends and families to join us at 8pm each night as we pause to pray for peace.