At Vatican Synod, Middle Eastern bishops muted remarks about Muslim persecution of Christians for fear of reprisals

On October 15, Emmanuel III Delly, the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, said this about the Christians in Iraq at the Vatican’s Synod on Christians in the Middle East: “The population of this country, crossed by two famous rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, is 24 million, all Muslims, with whom we live peacefully and freely….Christians are good with their fellow Muslims and in Iraq there is mutual respect among them.”

On October 31, jihadists stormed a church in Baghdad and murdered over thirty people. This was, of course, just the latest of a large number of jihad attacks against Christians in Iraq over the last few years.

Yet the Vatican Synod singled out Israel, where Christians live with more freedom and peace than they enjoy in any majority-Muslim country. Now Monsignor Robert Stern explains — as I explained here — that that was because they were afraid to speak out against the depredations of jihad, for fear of reprisals.

“Middle East synod participant explains factors behind its controversial conclusion,” from the Catholic News Agency, October 31:

New York City, N.Y., Oct 31, 2010 / 07:55 am (CNA).- The Synod for the Middle East, a historic gathering of the region’s bishops, concluded October 24, amid controversy over alleged bias in its concluding message. One expert on the region told CNA that the document reflected pastoral needs, not a political agenda.

The bishops’ concluding “Message to the People of God” criticized Israel in detail, but omitted most of the criticisms made against Islamic governments during the synod. Some observers took remarks about using religion to “justify injustices” as a blanket rebuke of Israel, a charge participants denied.

Shortly after his return from Rome, synod participant Monsignor Robert Stern, secretary general of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association. He spoke with CNA about some of the considerations that shaped the synod’s concluding message.

“The synod really didn’t have a political focus at all,” Msgr. Stern said, recalling that its main purposes were to strengthen bonds between diverse groups of Catholics, and to ensure a continuing Middle Eastern Christian presence and witness.

As such, he said, the synod’s final message did not contain “the same degree of detail about every situation where Christians have difficulties in the Middle East.” Rather, he said, the message reflected “two major concerns” that took priority as “the more compelling matters,” Palestine and Iraq. Migration has greatly diminished both regions’ Christian populations in recent years.

In this context, he said, the bishops’ choices of emphasis and restraint –which could appear to focus on Israel’s treatment of Palestine, while treading lightly with Islamic regimes– should not be interpreted as political statements, but as expressions of their pastoral priorities, and suggestions toward peace.

“They did list out several of the issues that are raised by (Muslim and Christian) Palestinians,” the monsignor said, noting that all of the specific criticisms of Israel were ongoing “issues of concern for the Christians who live in Palestine.” The synod fathers, he recalled, “also mentioned being conscious of the suffering and insecurity in which Israelis live” because of violence from some Palestinians.

Monsignor Stern also acknowledged that fear for the safety of Christians in some Muslim countries may have prompted the synod fathers to moderate their comments. This was, he said, a “prudential judgment,” since Christians throughout the region can suffer consequences of their leaders’ remarks.

“Most of these bishops come from … places where they’re a very small minority, they’re bishops of a very small community, and they feel a lot of social pressure living in an Islamic world,” he observed. “A lot of them are in politically very uncertain circumstances– where they’re at risk, and their people are at risk. So, they don’t have quite so open and expansive of a way of talking about the situation.”…

Indeed.

Islamic jihad siege of Baghdad church ends with 52 people murdered
Baghdad church attack: Jihadists "came into the prayer hall and immediately killed the priest" when gov't forces stormed building
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Comments

  1. says

    At Vatican Synod, Middle Eastern bishops muted remarks about Muslim persecution of Christians for fear of reprisals
    ………………

    Well, of course”this is always the case. It would have been best if the entire focus had been on “strength[ing] bonds between diverse groups of Catholics”.

    Still, ludicrous statements like “The population of this country, crossed by two famous rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, is 24 million, all Muslims, with whom we live peacefully and freely….Christians are good with their fellow Muslims and in Iraq there is mutual respect among them””are understandable.

    This is a still recognizable as an obvious plea that Muslims not hurt Christians, because they are no threat.

    What is less understandable”or certainly less forgivable”is stuff like this:

    “Melkite Archbishop Cyril Bustros: ‘Al-Quds, which should be a house of prayer for all nations, has become in the hands of the Zionists a den of thieves where innocents and whoever claims a right and justice is killed.'”

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/10/-october-27th-2010-melkite.html

    I suppose Archbishop Bustros assumes that the Israelis will not start oppressing and murdering Christians over statements like these. Still”offering up the most grotesque calumny about decent people hardly constitutes Christian behavior”even allowing that those Christians are under the most appalling threat.

    That he is doing that while praising his enemies is especially cringe-worthy.

  2. says

    “”The synod really didn’t have a political focus at all,” Msgr. Stern said, recalling that its main purposes were to strengthen bonds between diverse groups of Catholics, and to ensure a continuing Middle Eastern Christian presence and witness”

    Ignoring the political focus of Islam will guarrantee you will die…

  3. says

    blockquote>At Vatican Synod, Middle Eastern bishops muted remarks about Muslim persecution of Christians for fear of reprisals

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

    Lan Astaslem

  4. says

    “Most of these bishops come from … places where they’re a very small minority, they’re bishops of a very small community, and they feel a lot of social pressure living in an Islamic world,” he observed. “A lot of them are in politically very uncertain circumstances– where they’re at risk, and their people are at risk. So, they don’t have quite so open and expansive of a way of talking about the situation.”…

    So, ‘their people are at risk’, hmmmmm… I think we have a word in English for people under duress of this kind.

    Definition of HOSTAGE
    1
    a : a person held by one party in a conflict as a pledge pending the fulfillment of an agreement b : a person taken by force to secure the taker’s demands
    2
    : one that is involuntarily controlled by an outside influence

    These Christians in dar-al-Islam are permanent hostages, and the words of their representatives should be recognized as such.

  5. says

    Totally demoralized by the relentless American and European treason toward the Christians of Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and the Balkans, and their servitude toward the Muslims, the Synod bowed to the Muslims’ feet, slandering Israel, but muting any concern over the tragic plight of Christians of the Middle East. They muted, and the Muslims murdered. The response to Synod’s appeasement of the Muslims at the expense of Israel was a massacre of Catholics in a church in Baghdad. A horrible catastrophe befell all the Christians of Iraq as a direct result of the US intervention there. And with the dastardly cowards such as the Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. David Petraeus in command, none of those US troops there had ever lifted a finger in defense of even one Christian.

    Ruslan Tokhchukov, EnragedSince1999.

  6. says

    dear Robert, regarding;

    ” Now Monsignor Robert Stern explains — as I explained here — that that was because they were afraid to speak out against the depredations of jihad, for fear of reprisals.”

    This repulsive group of vile Jewhaters are betraying the same people they may be trying to save. Vomiting their ancient supremacist crap will not save them.

  7. says

    I don’t know why, but I’m reminded of all the hoopla surrounding the one guy who wanted to burn a few books in Florida…

    How fast was he disuaded to do so by people in the most powerful country in the world, able to back up their opinions with military might…

  8. says

    This is the same evil, bullshit excuse the RC Church used to explicate itself from the moral quandary of its silence during the Holocaust.

    Does silence ever save lives?

    Now, it is Christians who are being murdered, and the Christian world is largely SILENT. SCREAMINGLY SILENT!!!

    Cowardice!

    Silence = DEATH

  9. says

    “Now, it is Christians who are being murdered, and the Christian world is largely SILENT. SCREAMINGLY SILENT!!!”

    heh

    They are not silent, they are blaming the JEws because muslims are killing Christians.

    Impotent and fearful and unwilling to take on the muslims, their anger is displaced unto the JEws. their age old victims.

    Disgusting and ugly.

    feh

  10. says

    and your approach to this story is dishonest, RObert

    “At Vatican Synod, Middle Eastern bishops muted remarks about Muslim persecution of Christians for fear of reprisals”

    Muted remarks about Muslims persecution? Did these individuals say anything about the murders, kidnapping, rape and forceable conversions of Christians?

    …the story really is about the gratuitous and vicious attack on the JEws, and the silence of the Pope.

  11. says

    I’m a Catholic from Lebanon and I feel so disappointed by this Synod… It shouldn’t be like that…
    The pope should have said the truth, and the real truth about Islam…
    Christians in middle east are living in a fear not because of Israel, but because of Muslims and Islam… It’s been like that since 1200 years +

  12. says

    Pardon the over-used comparison, but the whole situation reminds me of an alcoholic dysfunctional family. The drunk (Islam) is raging, destructive, a liar, violent, and the family are cowering, or pretending their isn’t a problem, or blaming themselves, or, like an ALANON spouse, wondering what he/she has to do by way of change, to prevent the outbursts of the drunk.
    As in the Bishops’ typical ideas. “Maybe if we don’t say anything he’ll stop beating us.” “It’s YOUR (Israel’s) fault that he behaves this way.” “Let’s just lie low.” “It’s your fault for eating during Ramadan! No wonder he gets this way!”
    The result, of course is that none of these factors is causal, and the drunk comes home and does in the communicants at O.L. of Salvation in Baghdad.
    AND the MSM refers to it as a stand-off! Isn’t a stand-off between two rival combatants?
    When His Holiness gave his lecture at Regensburg I was thrilled. He is a smart man and I believe he knew exactly what he was doing. Instead of vague references to groups mis-using “religion” for crimes, I wish he would state the obvious, and the truth.
    As for the Arab Bishops, is there not a single John Chrysostom to preach the truth and stand up to the Emperor of this wirld?

  13. says

    “..is there not a single John Chrysostom to preach the truth and stand up to the Emperor of this wirld?”

    Sansantiago,
    John Chrysostom was a virulent Jew hater. He wrote a series of 8 raging antisemetic sermons against the Jews. He also condemned Christians who practiced the laws of Torah, in particular those who participated in the Lord’s appointed times i.e., the Sabbath, Passover, feast of Tabernacles.
    He singled out the obedience to God’s Torah as a disease he wanted to rid Christianity of.