The growing presence of ISIS in the Middle East continues threaten the safety of Christians in Iraq and Syria. Increasingly the hundreds of thousands of Christians in harms way are subject to persecution and potentially mass acts of genocide. These communities of Christian believers are believers that derive from the sites of Christian antiquity and represent the earliest communities of Christians extant since the apostolic era. Their liturgical rituals are not necessarily based on the Roman rite, they are glimpses on the ancient liturgical rites of the Coptic Church, the Chaldean Church, ancient varieties of Orthodox Christianity and even some rituals attributed to some of the Apostles themselves. The global community of nations need to recognize this ongoing terrorism that forces Christians to convert to Islam or die by the sword. International Conventions of law developed by the United Nations maintain that threats against human life because of theocratic principles and beliefs are a violation against the dignity of man and atrocities against all societies. With this being said why is there no outcry against the actions of ISIS on both a humanitarian and political level as atrocities that destroy both human life and ancient cultures in the Middle East. ISIS has made the message very clear: they intend to eradicate all aspects of Christianity in Islamic territory with violent methods of cruelty. If anyone thinks or believes that the Crusades for control of the Holy Land have been over for centuries, they are sadly mistaken. We Catholics in all of our contemporary and ancient rites are engaged in a revival of the Crusades and the continued presence and existence of Christianity throughout the Islamic world is endangered. The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem is an order of papal knights and dames entrusted with the task of providing for the preservation of historically significant sites and funding projects for humanitarian developments in the ancient Holy Land. However, it is impossible for a papal order of chivalry to provide military protection against what is clearly a global threat of terrorism that prides itself with the persecution and murder of Christians as the obligation of religious jihad. The Catholic Church through their diplomatic presence at the United Nations needs to make this urgent matter part of Pope Francis’ upcoming address to the international body and urgently request both humanitarian and military assistance to preserve all Christians living under persecution throughout predominately Islamic countries. The potential grows daily for mass murder by Islamic terrorists against Christians similar to the dimensions of the of the Holocaust against European Jews mounted by Nazi Germany during the Second World War. As a concerned ally, perhaps Israel would event foster a place of refugee status for these persecuted Christians. Israel has experienced the terror of genocide, perhaps they will act with compassion to prevent it from happening again! During the Second World War certain cities were declare, “open cities,” and escaped air bombing. Jerusalem should be designated with this status and exemplified as a living example of many faiths existing in harmony. Judaism, Christianity and Islam venerate sites in the Holy City and maintain peaceful interactions with all faiths. As the threat continues to develop towards escalating violence and murder of Christians throughout the Islamic sphere of influence, the world’s community of peacekeepers need to take steps to end the threats and ultimately eliminate the violence. If the world does not act to save the persecuted Christians in the Middle East it is the equivalent of denying the atrocities of the Second War.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Pray for the peace of the Middle East! Pray that the global community will recognize the futility of war and listen to the admonition of Blessed Paul VI during his address to the United Nations, ” No more war! No more war! War, never again!”