SEOUL— Pope Francis on Monday wrapped up his inaugural visit to Asia, one that displayed a mix of style and substance, melding the pontiff's signature homey touches with an earnest outreach to a continent that holds intense interest for the Vatican—and a full slate of challenges.
The pope's visit to Asia—Catholicism's "great frontier," as he described it—was quintessential Francis, from the choice of a Kia 000270.SE -1.48% compact that was dwarfed by the hulking black SUVs carrying his entourage to the impromptu baptism of the father of a victim of the Sewol ferry tragedy. In between came a careful outreach to China, a full-throated warning of the dangers of economic growth and an appeal for peace for "our whole war-weary world."
The pope closed his five-day trip with a Mass for peace and reconciliation of the divided Korean peninsula in Seoul's Myeongdong Cathedral, a church that helped shelter pro-democracy dissidents during the military dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s. In the audience were a group of so-called "comfort women," or Koreans who were forced into sex slavery by Japanese soldiers during World War II.
August 14, 2014
“It has been over a month since ISIS declared their intentions toward Iraqi Christians in unequivocal terms: ‘convert, leave or be killed.’ Since then, town after town has fallen to the jihadists and many thousands of Christians have been evicted, finding themselves destitute and without food and water. The administration has been largely silent, finally being moved to pity by the plight of another religious minority, the Yazidis, and sending them air drops of water and food. Thankfully, Christians have been aided by private charities, notably the Knights of Columbus, although private efforts are not enough. We hope that the administration will find enough compassion for these victims of terror to mount a more aggressive response to what threatens to become a Christian genocide.”
-Dr. Garzie Pozo Christie, Advisory Board Member with The Catholic Association
August 14, 2014
“One would think that human compassion would have been enough to produce urgent movement from the Obama Administration, but even despite congressional prodding, we see a delayed reaction to the genocide of Iraqi Christians. Meanwhile, they have lost their homes, churches, and lives. Moved by their plight, Pope Francis has called all people of goodwill into solidarity with these suffering Iraqi Christians and religious minorities, sadly we must ask what must happen to garner a bold response from this Administration to protect Christians? In the absence of leadership from our highest elected officials, we are thankful for the efforts of private organizations like the Knights of Columbus and Aid to the Church in Need to provide aid to these victims of terror.”
- Maureen Ferguson, Senior Policy Advisor with The Catholic Association
August 13, 2014
White House not addressing their persecution equally.
It's starting to seem as if the Obama White House operates on a time delay. In the case of Iraq's religious minorities, the results have been deadly.
On June 10, the barbaric extremists called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) captured the city of Mosul. By mid-July, they issued an edict to the Christians who remained to "convert, leave or be killed."
The White House said nothing.
Beginning on July 22, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., took to the House floor six times toplead for attention from the Obama administration as a genocide threatened Iraq.
Not a word from the president.
August 10, 2014
By Katharine Lackey
Pope Francis called Sunday for an end to the violence in Iraq, where religious minorities are being persecuted and driven out by the militant group the Islamic State.
In his weekly Sunday blessing, Francis said the news in Iraq "leave us in dismay and disbelief," citing "thousands of people, including many Christians, driven from their homes in a brutal manner; children dying of thirst and hunger."
"All this gravely offends God and humanity. Hatred is not to be carried in the name of God," the pontiff said. "War is not to be waged in the name of God."
The pontiff expressed confidence that an "effective political solution on both the international and the local levels may be found to stop these crimes and re-establish the rule of law."
Pope Francis' personal envoy in Iraq, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, will depart Monday "in order to better ensure those dear suffering populations of my closeness to them," he said.