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The meeting organized in 2016 by the Catholic community Communion and Liberation (CL), which has taken place has cast a new interreligious shadow.
[All of these linked articles are German, sorry.] The persecuted
Christians of the Middle East "disturb" the desired climate. An Iraqi
priest witnessed the genocide of
the Christians in his home,which was made bitter by experience that
the West not only looks away, but - if it still has to listen again -
responds unwillingly and with opposition.
On the opening there was a Marian Publisher
that had been prohibited from showing representations of Mary "so as
not to offend other religions." This meeting is of such importance that
the Italian President and Prime Minister arrived in person. Italy
left-Catholic president Sergio Mattarella, let it be known in his
welcome address that it's not necessary for "all religions to be
fundamentalist." But what does "all religions", in a message of greeting
to a Catholic event mean without naming the Islam?
This is the "new interreligious shadow", giving a response of a
saturated relativism to challenges, and thus, must necessarily remain
inadequate and unsuitable.
At the same time the usual CL representatives like Archbishop Emeritus
of Bologna, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, and the incumbent Archbishop of
Ferrara, Luigi Negri, were no longer included in the meeting program.
Young Iraqi Priest as "Troublemaker"
Also not fitting in the picture is the Iraqi priest Rebwar Basa. Born 38
years ago in Erbil, he is priest of St. George Monastery of Mosul. He
comes from the Middle East powder keg, whose fuse was lit in 2011. He
knows the situation of Christians from personal experience, because he
himself is one of them. He knows about the persecution of Christians. He
knows that Christians are a diminishing minority and are harassed by
various Islamic groups in the country, persecuted, expelled and
killed. And he also knows from personal experience that even the
official state power makes Christian life difficult.
Although Rimini is so far from Mosul, he nevertheless also felt the long
shadow of the Middle East conflict cast on the famous seaside resort on
the Adriatic Sea, when a statue of Mary must be wrapped in the middle
of Italy at a Catholic major event, to be considerate of Muslims. It is
the long shadow of Islam. It is above all the long shadow of its own
weakness that has plagued European Christianity as an immune deficiency
disease, which the Iraqi priest began to feel at the meeting.
Rebwar Basa was a guest at the meeting for three days, told all those
who did not turn away, but wanted to learn about the fate of brothers
and sisters in the Middle East. The Catholic organization Kirche in Not [Church in Need], who works extensively in a special way to help persecuted Christians. KN offered an exhibition on the persecution of Christians, which even Vatican Radio reported.
Last Friday, the first day of the meeting, there was an incredible
incident, which is no less incredible than the concealment of a statue
of Mary, of which no one knew anything about at that time. However, it
fits another incident and gives a worrying picture.
Kirche in Not Informed about Persecuted Christians
For the exhibition Kirche in Not invited Rebwar Basa to give his
testimony. And the unbelievable happened. The priest described the
terrible fate of Iraqi Christians firsthand and was attacked for it from
the audience. His credibility was called into question, since what he
reported would not be heard by some. The journalist Franco Bechis
present for the newspaper Libero filmed
the anachronistic scene and wrote about it in the Sunday edition of his
newspaper: "Father Rebwar reported about the Christians persecuted by
Islam and was some were distressed by this message at the meeting."
The priest came to the West, but rather than solidarity he reaped open
contradiction. It came to a violent slugfest with "interreligious" and
islamophilic Christians. Some of the audience just did not want to
believe that what they propose could possibly also yield unpleasant
consequences. Others seem to have come specifically to the event in
order to bring the already weak voice of Middle Eastern Christians to
silence. Kirche in Not is known for its commitment to persecuted
Christians. It's a program that does not fit into the predominant,
desired image, which is that supposedly "all" religions want nothing but
peace, and "all" religions involve equally, "fundamentalist," dangers,
as Christianity was not unlike Islam, anyway not better.
For all Islamic groups "are we Christians not the main objective?"
The young priest could not be upset, though - yet had every reason to do
so - simply because of the disappointment. "What I am telling, I have
experienced in Iraq. I am a witness of what I report. We are still
300,000 Christians there. Here one has said a true thing that the Sunnis
kill Shiites, and Shiites kill Sunnis.That's right, and there are
religious, political and economic reasons for this slaughter. But just
as much for one as for the other, we are Christians the ultimate
goal. This must be said! Again and again I read that the Christians
were the collateral victim of a conflict. No, that's not true:
Christians are the main goal! There is a persecution instead, which is a
genocide, and we need to talk about it "
Despite the opposition, Father Rebwar answered his critics, who know so
little of the fate of Christians in the Middle East that they aim to
suppress it: "You do not trust me? Do not believe me? You could check it
yourself: There are media, there are books, there are other
witnesses. So you can inform yourselves." The problem is rather
"Often they are afraid to speak, so as not to affect the sensitivity of
other religions. Fear not, and not from saying that. You see how the
situation has happened in Europe by this attitude, where you live as
Christians in the majority and yet are afraid. So you can imagine what
we are going through in Iraq, where we comprise only 0.5 percent of the
population today. Here with you, there are young Muslims who go to Iraq
and Syria to fight, and are ready to die. And your youth is no longer
willing to participate in a Mass."
Matthew 24: 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall put you to
death: and you shall be hated by all nations for my name' s sake.