USCCB calls for justice for Nigerian terrorists, 2-state solution in Holy Land
CWN - December 30, 2011
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has expressed its solidarity with, and prayers for, the persecuted Christians of Nigeria and the Middle East. In doing so, the USCCB called for Nigerian terrorists to be brought to justice and affirmed its support for a two-state solution to the conflict in the Holy Land.
Writing to Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja (Nigeria’s capital), Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, said:
I write to express the solidarity of our Conference with the Church in Nigeria in the wake of the heinous attacks on Christian churches which took place on Christmas. In union with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, we reject these senseless acts of violence. We pray for all those who have been killed or injured, as well as their families. With our Holy Father we affirm, "Violence is a path that leads only to pain, destruction and death; respect, reconciliation and love are the paths to peace."
According to press accounts, you indicated that Church leaders have urged the government of Nigeria to "identify and eliminate the dens of these terrorist groups." We support you in this call for accountability. The White House has indicated that our government has contacted Nigerian officials regarding these terrorist acts and has pledged "to assist them in bringing those responsible to justice." Please be assured that we will contact White House officials to thank them for this commitment and to affirm the importance of honoring this pledge.
Writing to His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Bishops Pates, joined by USCCB President Archbishop Timothy Dolan, said:
Our Conference of Bishops is acutely aware that the Churches of the Middle East are caught in situations of conflict and violence that have put enormous strains on the ancient Christian presence there. As you have frequently affirmed, the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs a two-state solution: a recognized and secure Israel living alongside a viable and independent Palestinian state. We are also mindful of the suffering of the Church in Iraq where Christians are disproportionately represented among refugees, persons displaced from their homes, as well as victims of violence. We are anxious too for Christians who are being threatened in Egypt and other countries of the region and our world.
Please be assured as the Church in the United States celebrates the birth of Emmanuel, God with us, that we are with you. Our prayerful solidarity extends to all persecuted persons throughout the world, but in a particular way to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering in the region of our Savior’s birth
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