Christian response to Violence?

What are the responses of Irish parishes to ongoing conflicts in so many areas of the world and the horrific loss of life and suffering being inflicted on so many?
Brendan Butler sent the following message;
Dear All,
It is time that a debate be opened on the continuing massacre of the innocents in Gaza. Various arguments are used to avoid ‘taking sides’. Some maintain that by criticising the State of Israel for their disproportionate use of force in Gaza will only increase anti Semitism in our society . Some maintain that Hamas is deliberately wishing their own destruction as if their children are not as important to them as ours are to us . Hamas ‘s continued firing of rockets at Israel is a provocation and a threat to Israeli people and is to be condemned. However, as Christians and having Abraham as our common Father in Faith should not blind us into maintaining a silence in the face of a grave injustice against the largely Islamic people of Gaza. Instead it should spur us on to greater efforts in every way possible to bring about a just solution to this one sided ‘war’. Islam too claim Abraham as their father in faith also. This is seen in many ways as another expression of the western world’s indifference to Islamic people under siege. However for me it is a crime piercing the heart of God to ‘see’ the continuing massacre of his children as we continue to raise our eyes to heaven from our comfortable fence seats.
Brendan Butler
Pope Francis asks us to remember Christians who are being persecuted in Iraq;
Statement of the Director of the Press Office on behalf of the Holy Father
(7 August 2014)
The Holy Father is following with deep concern the dramatic news reports coming from northern Iraq, which involve defenseless populations. Christian communities are particularly affected: a people fleeing from their villages because of the violence that rages in these days, wreaking havoc on the entire region.
At the Angelus prayer on July 20th, Pope Francis cried with pain: “[O]ur brothers and sisters are persecuted, they are pushed out, forced to leave their homes without the opportunity to take anything with them. To these families and to these people I would like to express my closeness and my steadfast prayer. Dearest brothers and sisters so persecuted, I know how much you suffer, I know that you are deprived of everything. I am with you in your faith in Him who conquered evil!”
In light of these terrible developments, the Holy Father renews his spiritual closeness to all those who are suffering through this painful trial, and makes the impassioned appeals of the local bishops his own, asking together with them in behalf of their sorely tried communities, that the whole Church and all the faithful raise up with one voice a ceaseless prayer, imploring the Holy Spirit to send the gift of peace.
His Holiness urgently calls on the international community to protect all those affected or threatened by the violence, and to guarantee all necessary assistance – especially the most urgently needed aid – to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others.
The Pope also appeals to the conscience of all people, and to each and every believer he repeats: “May the God of peace create in all an authentic desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is not conquered with violence. Violence is conquered with peace! Let us pray in silence, asking for peace; everyone, in silence…. Mary Queen of peace, pray for us!” (Angelus, July 20, 2014).
Response of one parish Council in Brisbane.
Pray@8 Launched
About 130 people gathered at parish, on Sunday, August 3, at 3pm for an Ecumenical Vigil to pray for peace in Iraq and other troubled parts of the world.
At the vigil, our parish launched an ongoing prayer campaign – pray@8 – in this we are encouraging others in Brisbane archdiocese and beyond to join in. The aim is for people to stop at 8pm each night in their own homes to be united in prayer.
Explaining the campaign at the vigil, Val Smith, a member of the parish’s women’s prayer group said “8pm Brisbane time is about 1pm, lunchtime and a time for prayer in Iraq … and so it’s a perfect time to be united with our brothers and sisters”.
Fr Gerry has informed Archbishop (Bashar) Warda in Northern Iraq of our intention to pray together at 8pm. We invite each of you and your friends and families to join us at 8pm each night as we pause to pray for peace.

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  1. Grotesque adult failure lies at the root of the suffering of children these days in Gaza, Syria, northern Iraq, southern Sudan, eastern Ukraine. The adult self-righteousness that so often fuels violence must surely call us all to the Gospel of repentance – that turning away from blaming others to reflecting on the violence always latent with ourselves. The relative calm on this island just now is far from secure in any case – given the puffed-up self-righteousness of too many of our own politicos.
    The Internet gives no relief from the same affliction, as I found this Sunday morning – seeking news of the current plight of Yazidis and Christians fleeing the horrific Islamic State. Distant horrors can be grist to the mill of a plague of would-be online experts, many of them deluded by the notion that ‘religion’ lies at the root of all that’s wrong.
    But if Islam could tolerate the Yazidi and Christian faiths in northern Iraq for all the centuries since its own beginning, why should we believe that the Islamic State now truly represents the faith of Muhammed? I see instead a reprise of what happened in Cambodia following the overspill of the Vietnam war – also fuelled by the US military-industrial complex. The irony of US warplanes now destroying US-made heavy ordnance seized by IS forces from the fleeing Iraqi army should not be lost on anyone. Modern explosives and armaments drive people literally mad – ready to listen to any crackpot demagogue when their world collapses around them.
    Good religion calls people to prayer and repentance, not to arms. There is no other sure route to peace. Next Sunday I would prefer a heartfelt alternative, beginning in chapel, to a Sunday media maelstrom of horror. Let us name together all the ongoing conflicts, give thanks for our own relative tranquillity, and ask for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to fall on all who have power to save children from further torment.

  2. Con Carroll says:

    the yearly meeting of Quakers in Bath 2014 have called for a Palestinian state to be recognised. Brendan has said it in one sentence. take a comfortable position. Desmond Tutu reminds us, that in the time of oppression when one remains silent. then you are on the side of the opressor
    of course many of us want to see Peace with justice. we should ask how long have the Palestinians been waiting. let us recall that there were people who were political activists. in South Africa who opposed the apartheid state who come from Jewish back-round. Joe Slovo. Ronnie Kasrills.. Ronnie Kassrills opposes the war against Palestinians there are many jews opposed to this obscene
    war. Jews for Justice with Palestinians. how many of us know the name of members in the Dail who sit on a committe called Friends of Israel. Deputy Joanne Tuffy. Labour. ex minister for education Ruari Quinn. labour. senator Fergal Quinn. Minster for health. Leo Vradkar. ex minister for justice. Alan Shatter
    if you opposed the apartheid state of South Africa. then you should opposed the apartheid state of Israel
    become educated look up the IPSC website. Irish Palestine solidarity campaign. boycott Isreali goods

  3. Lloyd Allan MacPherson says:

    I guess this is one of the symptoms of living in a world where everything in our lives is divided. Have what is yours while I get what is mine. All the while, we ask for a prayer for peace. This doesn’t make sense, does it? How can we pray for a positive end result when it is we who, by our own inaction, ultimately create the fiasco? We fund the militarization of society. We support the disparate distribution of wealth. We herald ineffective political hierarchy. Have the masses been dehumanized under our watch? Is it right that we still seek a higher truth as a reward?
    These politics have been in effect since 1st century. Is it clear to you now that this empire has never really ended? We all have the gifts necessary to end this type of oppression – what we lack is the courage to see it through.

  4. The piece that follows offers no solution but questions the logic of the chaos that now plagues parts of our common home.
    No speech, no word, no voice is heard
    Yet their span extends through all the earth,
    Their words to the utmost bounds of the world
    Psalm 18
    It must have been a misunderstanding,
    the deliberate devastation of homes
    the gaping wounds in a hospital wall
    and a broken school room where children
    were taught to trust.
    It must have been a misunderstanding
    the curt demand to convert or leave
    to undertake a long trudge to the hills,
    loss carried in a bag of clothes,
    nothing else besides.
    It must have been a misunderstanding
    that caused a fireball to erupt above the clouds
    of eastern Europe, scattering a million flakes
    of twisted metal and possessions to the ground
    below, lost lives.
    It must have been a misunderstanding
    that in this year of memory,
    memory fails and in the passage of night
    storm-flash scars the tempest skies
    of a darkened dawn

  5. Charity begins at home. Prayer should be for peace in the heart of the one making the prayer. That peace might then flow to the other. I would definitely recommend prayer for peace. Jesus does ask that we pray always.
    Fasting helps too.
    If you are able to do more – then do that.
    There is a document, “The Achtiname of Muhammad” whose authenticity has not been fully established. Held by the Greek Orthodox in a monastery at foot of Mt Sinai I believe.
    Makes for interesting reading.
    “- This is a message from Mohamed ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.
    – Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
    – No compulsion is to be on them.
    – Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.
    – No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.
    – Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
    – No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight.
    – The Muslims are to fight for them.
    – If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.
    – Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.
    – No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (The end of the world – Judgement day.).
    If true-
    it should be quite clear from this that, far from being a threat, Islam is actually, should be the guardian of the Christian presence in the Middle East.
    These words of the Prophet Mohammed should be made known to Muslims and non-Muslims throughout the world.

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