ARCHBISHOP GOMEZ URGES CATHOLICS TO SIGN PETITION TO DECLARE THE SITUATION FACED BY PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS IN THE MIDDLE EAST A GENOCIDE
Archbishop writes in his weekly column in Angelus News that a genocide designation gives a special status to Christians fleeing the persecution
In his weekly column, Stopping the Christian ‘Genocide,’ Archbishop José H. Gomez reminds the faithful of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles that “martyrs are a witness to our conscience,” and urges them to join him in a petition spearheaded by the Knights of Columbus, calling on the U.S. government to declare the situation facing persecuted Christians in Iraq and Syria a “genocide.”
Martyrs “remind us that Jesus calls us to follow him without compromise, and that we may face intolerance, discrimination and even violence for believing in his name,” wrote Archbishop Gomez. “Sadly, the Christian witness of blood continues without end in the world today,” he added, referring to the four sisters of the Missionaries of Charity, a religious community founded by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, murdered March 4 in Yemen together with 12 other people.
The four sisters were described by Pope Francis as the “martyrs of today” after reciting the Angelus on March 6 with thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square. It has been reported that uniformed gunmen entered the nursing home the sisters operate for the elderly and disabled in Aden. “They gave their blood for the church,” said the Pope. Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a Salesian priest from India, who was staying with the sisters since his church was burned down in September, was kidnapped during the attack and is still missing.
The pope also referred to the sisters and the priest as victims of the “world’s indifference,” to the persecution of Christians.
“The pope has been saying these things for several years now. And he is right,” said Archbishop Gomez in his column. “Violence and torture are the daily cost of discipleship for Christians all over the world today —but especially in the Middle East. And the world community —government leaders, international authorities, the media and sadly even local churches — do not seem at all concerned,” wrote the Archbishop.
The Knights of Columbus have provided more than $5 million to assist Christians in the Middle East.