ARCHBISHOP of Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle was deeply saddened by the massacre-murder on March 4 of four Mother Teresa nuns along with 12 others in war-torn Yemen, where police authorities have identified people of the Islamic State as the perpetrators. Cardinal Tagle arrived from Rome on Wednesday.
He returned from Rome where he was for nearly two weeks, attending meetings with officers and managers of the Catholic Church’s principal humanitarian organ, Caritas Internationalis, of which he is the president. He also visited Syrian refugees and migrant workers in Lebanon.
The massacre was at a retirement home where the Missionaries of Charity nuns had been doing heroic humanitarian work. The gunmen stormed the house for the elderly and shot the handcuffed nuns and other victims at close range in the head.
Like Pope Francis, Cardinal Tagle asked for prayers for the perpetrators of the nuns’ massacre. These people also destroyed religious statues and a crucifix in the chapel of the retirement home. They and their co-adherents in Syria, Iraq, Libya and other places have won territories from which they have set up the beginnings of what they plan to make the global Islamic state.
In Rome, Pope Francis expressed shock and sorrow. He is specially close to the order of Mother Teresa nuns. He condemned the attack in Aden as an “act of senseless and diabolical violence.” He referred to the nuns as modern-day martyrs and victims not just of the killers politically and religiously motivated killers but also of “indifference.”
He most likely meant the global lack of urgent concern by the leaders of the world for the plight of victims of the horrible situation in the Middle East, where peaceable Christians and Muslim communities not belonging to the Islamic State’s religious group are killed and driven out of their homes, causing the migration crisis that is threatening to destroy the European Union.
Pray for consciences to be awakened
The Holy Father, said Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. “prays that this pointless slaughter will awaken consciences, lead to a change of heart, and inspire all parties to lay down their arms and take up the path of dialogue.”
The Pope supports only limited military action to save lives–and only when used to pursue a “just war.”
For the Church, war is something evil to begin with. It can only be resorted to by a good–Christian–government as a last resort. Diplomacy, dialogue and reconciliation efforts must first be tried.
When the option of war has to be chosen, it is because military moves will cause less harm than not making them.
Everything possible must be done to avoid civilian casualties. In trying to save a village and its people, you must never destroy it and kill its inhabitants.
Saint Pope John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI opposed the two Gulf Wars, and Pope Francis has opposed the American intervention in Syria. That is because they did not see military action in all three cases fulfilled the requirements of a just war. They saw that military intervention would only make matters worse.
And they were right, weren’t they?
While the Holy Father has been calling for action to stop the Islamic State and its forces, he does not mean that they should be killed.