Statement of U.S. Bishops’ Chairman for International Justice and Peace on Armenian Genocide

April 19, 2021 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON - In commemoration of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day on April 24, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace highlighted the tragic loss of so many Armenians in what has been called the first genocide of the 20th century.

Bishop Malloy’s full statement follows:

“April 24 is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, marking the 1915 start of a campaign that resulted in the death of as many as 1.2 million Armenian Christians -- victims of mass shootings, death marches to distant camps, torture, assaults, starvation, and disease. Thousands of Armenian children were torn from their families and forcibly converted. This horrific tragedy was intended to eliminate the Armenian people and their culture in what has been called the ‘first genocide of the 20th century.’

“But Armenia and the Armenian people survived and endured despite their suffering and persecution. I echo the prayers of our Holy Father, Pope Francis when he offered his prayers for justice and peace following a trip to Armenia in 2016: ‘A people that suffered so much throughout its history, and faith alone, faith has kept this people on its feet. The fact that [Armenia] was the first Christian nation is not enough; it was the first Christian nation because the Lord blessed it, because it had its saints, it had its holy bishops and martyrs…’

“As we rejoice in the Resurrection during this Easter season, may all people of good will join together on this solemn day of recollection to pray and work for justice and peace and remember anew that eternal life in Christ reigns supreme and forever.”

Bishop Malloy’s statement echoes the concern and solidarity the Catholic Church has long held with the Armenian Church. In a November 2000 joint statement, Pope John Paul II and His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, affirmed their common faith and mutual respect for one another.

The U.S. bishops have provided support for pastoral renewal projects and through Caritas Armenia for social services to assist children and the vulnerable as well as to encourage parish social ministry programs. In 2003, Cardinal William Keeler led a delegation of U.S. bishops and staff to Armenia at the invitation of the Catholicos. The delegation came away deeply impressed and inspired by the resilience of the Christian faith of the Armenian people in the face of adversity. 

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