Catholic World News

USCCB committee chair weighs in on Iraq

June 24, 2014

Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, has urged the Obama administration to provide humanitarian assistance to the victims of recent violence in Iraq.

“Our nation bears a special responsibility toward the people of Iraq,” Bishop Pates said in a letter to National Security Advisor Susan Rice. “The US-led invasion and occupation unleashed both sectarian conflicts and extremism in Iraq, two tragic unintended consequences that have profound and continuing repercussions for the people of Iraq.”

Stating that the administration’s calls for an inclusive Iraqi government are “appropriate,” Bishop Pates added that “extremists have been exploiting the divisions born of exclusion and the weakening of the rule of law … In the absence of getting at the root causes exploited by extremists, the conflicts in Syria and Iraq will continue to feed each other, and a lasting peace will be elusive.”


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  • Posted by: skall391825 - Jun. 25, 2014 3:55 AM ET USA

    It seems that arrogance and ignorance is just too much to overcome for some, no matter what the Holy Father says or how often: "In his [April 24] homily the Pope repeated the warning, which he has issued several times since his election, against perceiving the Church as an NGO: a non-governmental charitable group." Catholic World News - April 24, 2013

  • Posted by: Defender - Jun. 24, 2014 11:23 AM ET USA

    The root causes are religion and control. We won't do or say anything about religion (it being so PC not to do so) and we understand "control" - look how ineffectual the government is because of its elected representatives. Rule of law is whatever the controlling Islamic group says it is. Notice how the UN is quiet about all things Muslim,too? Why does the USCCB think they know better when it's obvious they should stay out of international politics. This administration has the same problem.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jun. 24, 2014 8:57 AM ET USA

    There is nothing exceptionally controversial in what Pates says here, but one minor precision is in order. The American aggression initiated by Bush most certainly did unleash sectarian strife; Saddam Hussein's regime had kept a lid on that for years with its police-state policies. But the "extremism" was always there, the mutual detestation felt by Sunni and Shiite Mohammedans. The notion that extreme positions are some kind of novelty is naive at best.