Monday, March 17, 2008


At his Palm Sunday homily, Pope Benedict issued a strong statement in opposition to the war in Iraq --- statements that should quell any Catholic's questions over the Church's position in this area.

"Pope Benedict XVI issued one of his strongest appeals for peace in Iraq on Sunday, days after the body of the kidnapped Chaldean Catholic archbishop was found near the northern city of Mosul. The pope also denounced the five-year-long war, saying it had provoked the complete breakup of Iraqi civilian life.

"Enough with the slaughters. Enough with the violence. Enough with the hatred in Iraq!"
Benedict said to applause at the end of his Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square.

On Thursday, the body of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho was found near Mosul. He had been abducted on Feb. 29. Benedict has called Rahho's death an "inhuman act of violence" that offended human dignity. On Sunday, Benedict praised Rahho for his refusal to abandon his flock despite many threats and difficulties. Benedict said Rahho's dedication to the Catholic Church and his death compelled him to "raise a strong and sorrowful cry" to denounce the violence in Iraq spawned by the war that began five years ago this week.

We join with our Chaldean brothers and sisters in sorrow for the loss of their beloved shepherd, Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho. His witness to stay with his people is an especially strong symbol during this Holy Week --- and similar to another tremendous pastor who's assasination anniversary is on March 24, 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero (El Salvador).

How much more do we need to see to draw connections between the violence and destruction of these two sacred yet war-torn countries?