The Church is lobbying John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, to recognise that ISIS is perpetrating a genocide against Christians.
The State Department is expected to declare that the Yezidis, a religious minority in Iraq, are facing genocide.
But Christian leaders including Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington DC have asked for a meeting with Kerry in advance of the declaration.
Chaldean Catholic Bishop Francis Kalabat criticised the Obama administration for citing only atrocities committed against the Yezidis.
“They are horrific. But there are also atrocities of rape, killings, crucifixions, beheadings, hangings that the Syrian and Iraqi Christians have endured and they are intentionally omitted. I hate to say this, but this they do to their shame,” said the bishop, who leads the Chaldean Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle in Michigan.
More than 150,000 Iraqi Christians, Bishop Kalabat said, “are being victimised by the Obama administration in not recognising their suffering”.
In their letter to Mr Kerry calling for a meeting, the Christian leaders said that Pope Francis “has called ISIS’s crimes against Christians by their proper name: ‘genocide’. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Christian leaders in the Middle East have done so as well. We agree, and are hopeful that, once you have seen the evidence, you will too.”
The current push is the result of a US Holocaust Memorial Museum report, issued in November, that detailed attacks against the Yezidi in Iraq’s Ninevah province. It concluded that ISIS “perpetrated crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and war crimes” against Christians as well as the Yezidi, Turkmen, Shabak, Sabean-Mandean and Kaka’i peoples.
Archbishop defies governor over resettling of refugees
The Archdiocese of Indianapolis in the US state of Indiana has resettled a family of Syrian refugees despite opposition from the state’s governor. The family of four arrived in Indianapolis last week following two years of security checks.
The Church said that helping people escape violence was an “essential part of our identity as Catholic Christians and we will continue this life-saving tradition”.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence is one of more than 25 US governors who have asked President Barack Obama to stop the flow of Syrian refugees into the country after the terrorist attacks in Paris last month.
Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis met the governor to explain to him the role of the archdiocese in the Refugee and Immigrant Services programme.
In a statement Governor Pence said: “The governor holds Catholic charities in the highest regard but respectfully disagrees with their decision to place a Syrian refugee family in Indiana at this time.”
Governor Pence is being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for refusing to resettle Syrians in his state.
Alaskan faithful mourn priest
An Alaska priest who visited parishes by plane and by kayak has died aged 46.
Fr Thomas Weise Jr died after a cardiac arrest. In his final blog post, Semper Gumby In Alaska, he reflected on death. “The one who loves you beyond your wildest imagining is welcoming you home, where there is no suffering, sin, darkness, [or] brokenness,” he wrote.
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