One year after Islamic State militants drove thousands of Iraqi Christians and Yezidis out of the country, Pope Francis prayed that people around the world would be more attentive and sensitive to the reality of religious persecution and that “the international community would not stand by mute and unresponsive before such unacceptable crimes.”
The pope sent his message to Iraqi refugees who fled to Jordan after the Islamic State campaign in August 2014 sent tens of thousands of people fleeing their homes in the Ninevah Plain of northern Iraq.
According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 57,000 Iraqis have been given refuge in Jordan.
In his letter, which was released Aug. 6 at the Vatican, Pope Francis thanked those “who took on the care of these brothers and sisters, not turning their gaze away.”
The Christian communities in Jordan who are assisting the refugees “proclaim the resurrection of Christ by sharing their suffering and giving them aid,” he said. “You bow down to their suffering, which risks suffocating hope.”
The pope’s message of consolation and encouragement was sent with Bishop Nunzio Galantino, secretary-general of the Italian bishops’ conference, who traveled to Amman, Jordan, Aug. 6 to visit Iraqi refugees there and to attend a prayer service Aug. 8 “to remember the first large exodus of persecuted Christians.”
Pope Francis said he wanted to take advantage of the bishop’s trip to offer “a word of hope to those, oppressed by violence, who were forced to abandon their homes and their land.”
Too many times, in too many parts of the world, he said, “atrocious, inhuman and inexplicable persecution” of Christians and other minorities takes place “under the eyes and with the silence of all.”
The victims of “fanaticism and intolerance” are today’s martyrs, he said, murdered only for their fidelity to Christ.
Pope Francis said he hoped his words and his latest message would be “the sign of a church that does not forget and does not abandon its children who were exiled because of their faith.”
The pope said he prays for the refugees each day and recognizes “the witness of faith they offer us.”
Help keep Catholic media free, support CatholicPhilly.com
You may have noticed “pay walls” greeting you when you visit the websites of newspapers and magazines, both large and small. These mechanisms allow you to read a few articles for free before you’ve got to pay an annual fee if you want to see more.
You won’t find a pay wall on CatholicPhilly.com because we’re more than a news organization. We’re informing, inspiring and forming readers in the Catholic faith every day through the news, features and commentaries that we post on this site and share across social media.
It costs money to provide high-quality coverage of the local Catholic communities we primarily serve, while also distributing national and world news of interest to Catholics, plus the orthodox teachings of the Catholic faith.
Help us in this mission by making a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: