Fr. Raymond De Souza published a short piece today on the recent “orgy of violence in Iraq” , in which sixty Catholics and their priests were killed while attending Mass at Baghdad’s cathedral, Our Lady of Salvation. A more anti-Christian attack could hardly have been orchestrated, with the Muslim gunmen shouting “God is Great” as they systematically killed the priests, then as many of the parishioners as could be dispatched before police arrived and their suicide vests came into use. Photojournalists documented the post-mortem scene inside the cathedral, and—let’s just say the walls were covered in blood, making Saving Private Ryan ’s Omaha Beach scene look antiseptic.

De Souza expresses what strikes me as an entirely appropriate anger, not just at the attack, but at our apparent numbness to it. For one, it’s hard to reconcile our tepid indifference to a coordinated, systematic, religiously-themed attack on worshiping Christians with the widespread ignition of violent Islamic protest (and calls for death to Christians and Americans) in response to Rev. Terry Jones lonely, unfulfilled threat to burn Korans. He writes:

Indeed, the international community issued the usual boilerplate condemnations, most of them refusing to identify those responsible. The same statements could have been used had the Rotarians decided to massacre the Salvation Army. In the Church, too, there is often a reluctance to support vigorously Christians under attack, and to call things by name . . . .

Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. So Scripture teaches us, and so it must be for us, leaving vengeance to the Lord, and imploring the grace of conversion and reconciliation. But let us not blanch from raising our voices to the Lord, with righteous anger and hot tears, that He might visit His vengeance upon those who did this, bring down His wrath upon their heads and exact upon them a terrifying justice in full measure.

That’s not the language of imbalances; it is the anguish and agony of the shepherd when the flock is being slaughtered.

Articles by Kevin Staley-Joyce

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