Chaldean Patriarch on the topic of revenge
A militia leader in Iraq who has called for revenge against the Islamic State has no right to “make such statements involving Christians” and “does not represent them in any way,” the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate has announced.

The Baghdad patriarchate quickly issued that statement after a militia leader who claims to represent Christians vowed to exact revenge on Islamic jihadists. The militia leader, Ryan Salem, said that his fighters would take reprisals in Mosul; in a televised address, he stood with Sunni Muslim prisoners held by his group, who are suspected of collaborating with the Islamic State.

The Chaldean patriarchate said that the call for revenge “has nothing to do with Christ’s moral teachings.” The statement added that such dramatic calls for revenge fuel sectarian tensions, and could prompt further attacks on Christians by Islamic extremists. The patriarchate said that in the campaign against the Islamic State, all rules of moral combat should be followed.
Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading (Mt. 5:43-58), Pope Francis devoted his February 19 Angelus address to the Christian response to evil.

“Jesus does not ask his disciples to suffer evil; rather, he asks them to react, not with another evil, but with goodness,” the Pope told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “Only thus is the chain of evil broken: an evil leads to another evil, another evil leads to another evil … This chain of evil is broken, and things truly change.”

This “does not mean that the demands of justice are ignored or contradicted; on the contrary, Christian love, which manifests itself in a special way in mercy, represents a higher realization of justice,” the Pope continued. “What Jesus wants to teach us is the clear distinction we must make between justice and retaliation.”

The Pope also spoke about love for enemies, including family members who treat others unjustly. He concluded:

How many enmities there are in families, how many! Enemies are those also who speak badly of us, who calumniate us and do us wrongs. And it is not easy to digest this. We are called to respond to all of them with goodness, which also has its strategies, inspired by love.

May the Virgin Mary help us to follow Jesus in this demanding way, which truly exalts human dignity and makes us live as children of our Father who is in Heaven. May she help us to practice patience, dialogue, forgiveness, and thus be craftsmen of communion, craftsmen of fraternity in our daily life, especially in our family.

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