Vatican: Mideast Christians Are Victims of Crime

Urges Interpol to Address Baghdad Attack, Globalization

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DOHA, Qatar, NOV. 9, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A Vatican spokesman is asking the international police organization Interpol to pay more attention to the crimes committed against Christians in the Middle East, and to the problems associated with the phenomena of globalization.



Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, secretary of the Governorate of Vatican City State, said this Monday in an address to the 79th General Assembly of Interpol, which is under way in Doha through Thursday.

The four-day conference has brought together some 650 police chiefs and senior law enforcement officials from 141 countries to reflect on the theme: "Challenges to Fighting Crime in the 21st Century."

The Vatican's security forces joined Interpol -- the International Criminal Police Organization -- in 2008. The organization has its headquarters in Lyon, France, but an Interpol Global Complex in Singapore is in the works and expected to open in 2014.

Archbishop Viganò said that he spoke not as "an expert in criminology," but rather as one who wanted to offer a reflection on "crime itself, or more properly, criminal behavior grounded in various motivations, at times even ascribed to religious convictions."

"Criminal behavior is an intrinsic part of the human experience," he said, "just as the conflict of good and evil is part of the world's history, and, for Christians, a part of God’s saving plan. It is precisely this realization that inspires the Holy See to participate, either as a member or an observer, in the meetings and conferences promoted by international organizations to discuss issues which ultimately deal with man himself, the human being viewed holistically and with respect for all his complexity."

The archbishop said that one issue that needs to be addressed is that of globalization, and the problems associated with it, namely the "political and economic changes which are often uncontrolled and even uncontrollable."

"While it is true that globalization offers opportunities for development and enrichment," he explained, "it is also true that it can cause increased poverty and hunger, which in turn can spark chain reactions often leading to widely disparate forms of violence."

Archbishop Viganò added that technological and scientific progress can also be used "in a way that clearly violates the order of creation, even to the point of denying the sacredness of life and stripping the human person and the family of their natural identity."

"In this complex situation," he asserted, "mankind finds itself at risk."

The way to move forward, he said, lies in respecting "ethical imperatives," as well as the "promotion and protection of rights as sanctioned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, above all the right to life and, not least, the right of religious freedom."

Ferocious

Continuing in French, Archbishop Viganò noted that the violation of human rights takes place in "numerous, very numerous" ways, and pointed in particular to the Oct. 31 attack on the Cathedral of Baghdad.

Nine armed men, claiming to belong to the "Islamic state of Iraq," entered Our Lady of Salvation Syrian Catholic Church during Mass and opened fire. The attack left 52 dead, including two priests (Father Wasim Sabieh and Father Thaier Saad Abdal), and 78 injured.

The archbishop called the attack "an act of unheard of ferocity against defenseless persons gathered to pray."

"For years now in Iraq," he continued, "Christians have become the object of atrocious attacks, and the situation of the country has certainly become in itself ever more difficult."

Archbishop Viganò recalled the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which was held last month in the Vatican, and noted that the assembly "denounced the numerous forms of violence to which the Christian communities in these regions are subjected, and which in the end, are constrained to flee."

"These are also crimes to be combated," the archbishop said. "But it must be done all together," he added. Quoting Benedict XVI, he affirmed: "Peace is a gift of God, but it is also the result of the efforts of men of good will, of national and international institutions."

The archbishop said the Pope's appeal was one "for all to join their forces to finally stop the violence."
 
"We are here today to renew, in one specific area, our commitment to cooperate in eliminating evil from the world," Archbishop Viganò continued. "This is an enormous commitment if we think of the forces at play, yet we must remain undaunted. Indeed, we should be committed to even fuller cooperation."

The archbishop thanked Interpol for their work in aiding local police agencies during natural and human disasters, as well as its assistance during the Pope's international travels.

With interventions from Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Pakistan, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sudan, Vatican City and Vietnam, addressing a range of issues relating to international security, a joint statement was endorsed by all of the 18 ministers in attendance and will provide a basis for future policing initiatives.

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-30908?l=english