If all the Christians are driven from Iraq — one of the Faith’s most ancient homes — then the church bells will fall silent forever on the Nineveh Plain.
Indeed, if any ethnic group, nationality or religious community dies out or is driven out, its faith and culture die with it.
For The Tidings, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, I did an interview with Chaldean Catholic Bishop Mar Bawai Soro, who resides at the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle in El Cajon, California, a part of the Eastern Rite of the Church.
Here’s an excerpt:
[The Eparchy] serves approximately 60,000 Catholics in several western states who are part of the Chaldean or Assyrian Rite. Many are immigrants from the Middle East, especially Iraq and Iran.
Bishop Soro was formerly a bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East. A longtime advocate of the primacy of the Apostolic See of
Rome — he proudly displays thick albums of photos of the times he has met Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis — Bishop Soro was received into the Catholic Church in January 2008.
He recently joined forces with Kingdom Special Operations, a Las Vegas-based private security company. Staffed by former intelligence officers and military Special Forces members, it goes on assignments worldwide for the U.S. government and other entities.
But the CEO of Kingdom, Orange County native Roger Flores, is a Catholic and a Knight of Columbus, and he has always maintained that part of Kingdom’s mission is to help his fellow Christians.
Flores and his compatriots have spent much of their adult lives living in tents and similar structures in war zones and disaster areas, and he wants better for the Christians currently living in refugee camps.
“Our commitment,” said Flores, “is to build a suitable transitional location away from harm.”
Of course, this is a very large problem, and individual people wonder what they can do. Well, here’s one suggestion. Soro and Kingdom Special Operations are raising money to buy prefab homes — packed five to one shipping container — that can be built to create safe communities for Christian refugees away from Muslim-majority refugee camps.
There’s land available, given by churches in the area, but these families need more than tents to live in. These prefab homes are built to last for several years, and can be heated and air-conditioned. If more permanent, larger structures are later built, these can be converted into classrooms, etc.
Of course, the brave, self-sacrificial families that choose to remain in Iraq and prevent the disappearance of Christianity, also need support in other areas. Below are links to donate to both offer general help and to provide funds — supplementing money already being provided by Kingdom itself — to put a roof over the heads of as many Christian families as possible.
They’re risking their lives and those of their children for the Faith. What will you do?
Bishop Soro and I also spoke of larger philosophical issues, including why it’s important to fight for Christianity on its native soil. Here are comments from the bishop didn’t make it into the original story.
History teaches, evil is like a virus. If we don’t treat it in area number one, it will eventually travel to area number two, number three, until it reaches me. Anywhere a virus is found, it has to be treated, dealt with, controlled, so that it does not spread. Evil, persecution, massacres — they’re like that. If anybody is to know, the Jewish people are expert in this, because they have suffered the most.
Today, we live in a society where our memory span is probably the weekly news cycle. You are in the media; you know what I’m talking about. The headlines trigger. That’s why important, scandalous stories are released on Friday afternoons. They dump everything then. They are waiting for Monday news.
We live in a society like that. It’s part of how we have been shaped. That is not the truth. The truth remains. Look, I’ll tell you why Americans have to open their eyes, because the Europeans have not opened their eyes. They are being overrun, by what?
Muammar Gaddafi of Libya said in one of the Islamic conferences that, “We don’t need to fight the West with bullets and daggers, with cannons and airplanes, with terrorism and what have you. We’ll fight the West with the wombs of our women. Just give us time. Not only that, but we will enter and reverse the fortunes of their health and social services, so that we will benefit. We ride on them; we suck all their benefits.”
The West today, it’s suffering from two things — a reverse demographic growth and an overrun by Islamic populations, so much so that France, in 40 years, could very well become by voting the Islamic Republic of France.
These are all alarms — cultural, psychological — that are really related to the fate of Western Civilization.
And on America in particular, Bishop Soro said:
If Americans really understood these dynamics — it takes a fool not to see the truth when the truth is presented to them simply and objectively and in a non-offensive way. That is our duty, who know the truth. We have to articulate it in a way that helps the people to see it. I’m telling it, so your children, and the children of your children, can get something out of it.
This means the collapse of the American civilization. The minute we depart from the very principles that helped us build and strengthen the character of this nation, the ideals that we strive for, for which our soldiers have sacrificed …
The minute we abandon these ideals, we are doomed to disappear like every other empire in history, like the Persians, the Romans, the Mongolians. We are human beings. It’s the same theory. If we will not follow certain universal rules, the natural law that governs the universe — and we are part of that universe — really, it will happen to us.
Images: Kate O’Hare; courtesy Roger Flores