As Thanksgiving approaches, we are once again reminded of all the blessings we enjoy. One of those blessings is the freedom to worship God without fear. Recent world events, however, remind us that this is a blessing that not every person — particularly not every Christian — enjoys throughout the world.
Many people are still grieving in the wake of a terrorist attack Oct. 31 that killed 58 people and left some 75 wounded at a Syrian Catholic cathedral in Baghdad. It’s not the first time Christians in Iraq have been targeted by militants, who have killed a local bishop, priests and lay people in previous attacks. And it likely won’t be the last.
Following the cathedral incident, Christian leaders met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to discuss security problems at their churches. Pope Benedict XVI called on the international community to work together to end the “heinous episodes of violence that continue to ravage the people of the Middle East.”
And Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, the outgoing president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,
urged the U.S. government to “redouble its efforts to assist Iraqis,” particularly religious minorities.
Such public calls for action are welcome, of course. But will they make a significant difference?