Where are the Voices? | Solidarity with Persecuted Iraqis

Cardinal Donald Wuerl speaks out about the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq at the Catholic University Mass of the Holy Spirit on August 28, 2014.



Transcript of Concluding Remarks by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington and Chancellor of The Catholic University of America
Mass of the Holy Spirit
Great Upper Church, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Aug. 28, 2014

In his closing remarks at the Mass of the Holy Spirit, Cardinal Doanld Wuerl reminded students of the call to solidarity as he gave an impassioned plea to speak up for those currently being persecuted, tortured, and killed for their religious beliefs in Iraq and Syria.

"Before we conclude this wonderful, beautiful and inspiring celebration of the beginning of this academic year, I want to share just one very, very serious thought with you. This is a time that’s so very different from the ordinary time when we come annually to open the academic year.

We hear so much today of the word “solidarity.” It’s a word that has become a part of our vocabulary in the past 20, 30 years. Today our solidarity with brothers and sisters of our faith and of other faiths in a part of the world where there is clearly an effort to eliminate them is something that we simply cannot in conscience ignore.

Often we’re asked, “How is it possible that in human history atrocities occur?” They occur for two reasons. Because there are those prepared to commit them and there are those who remain silent. And the actions in Iraq and Syria today, what’s happening to women, children, men, their displacement - as the least of the things happening to them - is something that we really are not free to ignore and sometimes all we have to raise is our voice.

I’m sharing these thoughts with you because I don’t want to have on my conscience that I was complicitous in something as horrendous as this simply by being quiet. And I ask myself where are these voices? Where are the voices of parliaments and congresses? Where are the voices of campuses? Where are the voices of community leaders? Where are the voices of talk show hosts and radio programs? Where are the voices of the late night news? Where are the voices of editorial columns? Where are the voices of op-ed pieces? Why a silence?

I think each one of us has at least the power to raise our voice and be in solidarity with people distant from us, unknown to us, not a part of this campus, not a part of this family, not a part of this university, not a part of our nation. But they are a part of our human community. I think it should rest on the conscience of each one of us. Atrocities happen because there are those who commit them and those who simply remain silent."

Maybe this begs the question then that those who have the power do nothing when they have the power to do something means they are in some way guilty too? Where is the line drawn between Christianity and Pacificism - where do the actions of an unjust aggressor cry out to God for justice and for a call for the armed rescue of innocent people? Why aren’t people out on the streets praying vigils all day and night? Why does a certain news station sidestep Iraq and concentrate only on Gaza - although this is serious too - as if that is more important than women and children being savagely murdered and tortured one by one? :crossrc:

Just watched the video. This bit: “we really are not free to ignore” says it all for me. I hope this thread gets many views. God bless.

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