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BALTIMORE (November 15, 2010) — The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) affirmed by acclamation during their annual Fall General Assembly a November 9 letter from Chicago Cardinal Francis George, OMI, USCCB president, to President Obama regarding the recent violence against Christians in Iraq.
“The October 31 attack on the Syrian Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad shocked and horrified the Catholic community and all people of goodwill,” said Cardinal George in remarks to the bishops.
“As you’ve read in the press over the past week, there are continuing attacks against innocent Iraqis, especially Christians. In the recent Synod on the Middle East, the bishops from Iraq spoke of the perilous situation facing Christians and other minorities in that country.”
Cardinal George said the attack touched all of the bishops very closely.
“Our brothers in the priesthood, Father Thaer Saad and Father Boutros Wassim, were slain as one celebrated mass and the other heard confessions,” he said. “Father Thaer prayed and asked a terrorist to spare the lives of his parishioners before he died. Father Raphael moved parishioners to a safer location in the Church and was grievously wounded. Their Patriarch, His Beatitude Ignace Joseph III Younan, who morns their murders and wounding, along with those of scores of innocent worshipers killed and injured, is no stranger. He was formerly a member of our Conference of Bishops before his consecration and enthronement as Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians last year.”
Cardinal George reiterated what he said in his letter, that having invaded Iraq, the U.S. has a moral obligation not to abandon Iraqis. For all these reasons, Cardinal George asked that bishops make his letter their own.
The full text of the letter can be found at: www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-203.shtml
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