St Simon's Parish Blog

Welcome to the Blog of St Simon Stock Catholic Church, South Ashford, Kent, UK. Our address is: Brookfield Road Ashford Kent TN23 4EU

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For nine years up till July 2010, I was parish priest at St Simon Stock Catholic Church, South Ashford, Kent, England. From July 2010 until June 2011 I was Associate Pastor at St Peter's Cathedral, Marquette, Michigan USA and then Pastor at St Anthony Parish, Gwinn, MI until October 2013. I then transferred to the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon to serve as Director of the Tribunal. And that's what I am currently doing. Since February 2015 I have also been serving as Pastor at St Stephen Parish, South East Portland. I miss "da UP" (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) but love being here in the Pacific North West.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Plight of Catholics in Iraq

One of our parishioners has written to me. His email is reproduced below. He expresses opinions about Mr Blair's conscience. Publication on this blog does not imply endorsement of the views expressed. The situation of our brothers and sisters in Iraq is very difficult and we must surely remember them in our prayers and offer whatever help we can.

I am sorry to be such a pain but I have been getting more and more frantic messages from Iraqi Christians asking for support. Even if it means only highlighting the issue or praying for them. The reason I sent you this e-mail is that should you get the chance please read about the kidnapped of yet another Priest in Baghdad whose crime was to visit a sick parishioner in his very dangerous area. Imagine you having to fight for your life and the bishop in you area having to find $1m or £500,000 to free you and then you MUST leave the country or else you will be beheaded. Well that is the fate of your brother priests in Iraq just like you they took the same vows and all that they wanted was to serve Jesus and the people. I have specifically enclosed an e-mail from an Iraqi Christian originally from Basrah like me and years ago Christians were treated very well and respected now we are treated very badly in that city which is supposedly under British control.

The last Chaldean bishop (the city now has no bishop) was so badly beaten that he required hospital treatment but sadly the clergy in Iraq and not for the first time kept quite in the hope that it was a "one-off" incident the former bishop of Basrah is now the Chaldean Bishop of Sidney in Australia.

When the Pope last year made some comments the Muslim people found offensive about their faith the response of one terrorist group was to kidnap a Protestant priest from Mosul (the place birth of Abraham) who was later crucified!! Even though people made appeals on the priests’ behalf and tried to explain that this particular priest’s branch of Christianity does not necessarily agree or follow the Pope in Rome it made no difference and later on a sickening video was released of the priests last horrendous moments with his killers screaming God is Great (Allah Akbar) and the poor man screaming with agony. It was taking a long time for him to die so they slit his throat anyway before dumping his body in a rubbish tip.

I must tell you also about something that happened to my father’s cousin last week. He is a man with little means but he was kidnapped on his way home from work. His kidnappers called his wife on his cell phone and demanded $400,000 or else! Eventually the family abroad managed to get together $50,000 and fortunately the kidnappers agreed to the much lower amount. Now the funny part (it really is funny but true) the kidnappers telephoned the wife gave her the address of an office in the centre of Baghdad and the sign outside the office said The "Mesopotamia Export and
Import Co-operation" but it was just a front all that that co-operation does is kidnap Iraqis for ransom. My relatives who went with the wife tell me that there were many people waiting outside and when asked why they were waiting they said that they had to wait for their name to called before they can go in to pay up and collect their loved one. If you are wondering why no one called the police well the answer is simple, the police station is only one block away and the police are paid a share of the ransom money every time a kidnapper is released and as someone found out to his cost that when you tell the corrupt Iraqi police they just tell the criminal gang who then promptly kill you!!

Mr. Tony Blair in his final "farewell tour" talked of having no regrets about invading Iraq, well he is either a man without any conscience, misinformed or simply does not know how to tell the truth in order to save his political legacy. I did not like Saddam and life was not great then but I can only describe Iraqis now as "Dead People walking" waiting for the inevitable day that a bomb, built or knife take them from their miserable existence. We are Christian and would never ever advocate violence and would never ever justify it under any circumstances. However, the world is literally doing nothing and people are now annoyed or bothered by our cries for help. However, even if we are ignored by man God will not and yes I am very sad and angry at my own inputted at not being able to do more to help but I hope that I can at least ask for your prayers and I urge you once again to highlight our plight. We are not anti Islamic indeed my two best friends are Muslims but in Iraq in Particular at the moment Christians are being persecuted for their faith and we have to pay a Tax called a "Jezia" or convert to Islam, flee or be killed .

I thank you in taking the time to read my letter.

My correspondent refers to a fellow-chaldean's blog for further information.

There is also a petition which you may wish to sign.



Blogger Fayrouz said...

My fellow Basrawi said it so well.

Fr., I wish you can write a bit about the murder of Fr. Ragheed Ganni and the three deacons in Mosul yesterday. I'm trying to find light in the middle of this darkness. But, I feel lost.

3:31 pm  
Blogger Fr John Boyle said...

Please be assured of the prayers and solidarity of your fellow Catholic Christians around the world, and here in Ashford. I have publicised your post on my more widely read personal blog >South Ashford Priest. I have also put a link to your blog in my sidebar.

5:20 pm  

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