The Prince of Wales has told Iraqi Christians that they “are quite literally following in the footsteps of the Holy Family” at a Mass organised by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). For the whole story, click here. Prince Charles said:
“At this most agonising of times we have to struggle not to forget that Our Lord called upon us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute. But by being with you this Christmas time I wanted to assure you of my constant thoughts and sympathy. As you know, the story of the Nativity ends with the Holy Family fleeing for refuge from persecution. You and your families are quite literally following in the footsteps of the Holy Family” HRH the Prince of Wales.
(Image, ℅ PA. Prince Charles with ArchBp Habib of Basra).
To listen to the Prince’s actual words, watch this video clip from the Royal Channel
Some years ago in 2006 when Pope Benedict gave a lecture on Faith and Reason at Regensburg, his words were quoted out of context and twisted. As such, many in the world attacked him when, in truth, he was trying to enter into an academic dialogue to help Christians and Muslims understand each other, and to learn together something of the nature of God. This interesting article offers a reflection on those words in the light of modern events, and how perhaps the world should have listened more.
Sir, over the past few days I have watched with horror at the events unfolding in Iraq. Only this morning I saw a video from the Iraqi parliament of a Yazidi MP making an impassioned plea for help for her community (link below).
The Yazidi and Christian populations, among others, are facing slaughter by IS (formerly ISIS).
Recently the Papal Nuncio issued a letter to Cardinal Vincent Nichols asking for him to offer assistance in spreading a request from Pope Francis that initiatives be undertaken to highlight the plight of these people, and to offer them help and support.
Mr Crabb, please, I urge you, speak out on their behalf in our parliament, that something may be done to rescue, protect or offer humanitarian support to these most vulnerable people.
Many of my parishioners are also duly concerned, and I am sure would welcome a statement from you on this matter.
I look forward to your reply and I offer you my prayers and support for your ministry of service.
I am, yours faithfully,
Fr Liam Bradley.
And here’s the reply:
Dear Father Liam,
Thank you for your recent email regarding the current situation in Iraq.
I too am appalled by the persecution of minority groups in the country and the desperate situation many of them face. The Prime Minister has strongly condemned the treatment of the minority Yazidi community who have been trapped on Mount Sinjar. The brutal events we have seen just in the last 48 hours underline again what an abhorrent force is at work in Iraq.
You may be aware that we are already providing humanitarian aid to the region. UK advisers have also been sent to cities under threat of occupation. We fully support the decision of the United States to agree to the Iraqi Government’s request for help in the form of targeted airstrikes. They have already destroyed some arms and equipment belonging to Islamic State, and have provided supplies to Kurdish forces who are opening a road for trapped Yazidis. While we are not joining the United States in a military capacity, we will be providing logistical support in terms of refuelling and surveillance.
Please be assured that my Ministerial colleagues will be monitoring the developing situation in Iraq very closely.
Thank you again for your email. If you would like to discuss this important matter further, please get in touch.
The Chaldean Patriarch has issued an appeal for urgent help for those Christians under attack from ISIS. Pope Francis yesterday issued a statement calling for worldwide efforts to assist those affected by increasing violence. Let us not be ignorant of the plight of our brothers and sisters.
Aid to the Church in Need is an international Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy See, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries.
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