printer friendly versionPrint
Advocate Because You Care, Not for Political Votes

16 Sep 2014 – Catholic News Service

Responding to editors’ requests for a regular sampling of current commentary from around the Catholic press, here is a 15 September column titled “The Cry of the Persecuted: Advocate Because You Care, Not for Political Votes” that appears on the Patheos website, www.patheos.com. It was written by Michael J.L. La Civita, who joined Catholic Near East Welfare Association in 1989 and is the papal agency’s communications director. He also is a knight commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

The dust has yet to settle from the Ted Cruz debacle at the “summit” of the nascent political action group, In Defense of Christians [I.D.C.]. Stones have been hurled from all sides — often with no clear target other than self-defense. “Lord have mercy,” said one clergyman who attended the summit, “everyone seems to use [this] sad event to support their own preconceived conclusions.”

Exactly.

In Sunday’s The New York Times, it was columnist Ross Douthat’s turn. He claims the senator’s performance demonstrates that the “American right no less than the left and center will deserve a share in the fate” of the Middle East’s “increasingly beleaguered Christian communities” that “have suffered from a fatal invisibility in the Western world.” Their plight “has been particularly invisible in the United States, which as a majority-Christian superpower might have been expected to provide particular support.”

The columnist considers three reasons for this supposed invisibility: the political left; the strategic class; and the right, especially its conservative Christians, whom he identifies as American Catholics and evangelicals.

Long before political strategists forged an alliance among so-called Christian “value voters” — when Catholics were just Catholics, not pawns divided by political lobbyists and strategists to engage in the culture wars — American Catholics provided significant support to their Christian sisters and brothers in the Middle East. Whether as donors to Catholic charities such as the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), founded in 1926, or as members of chivalric orders such as the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem or the Order of Malta, American Catholics helped to build and sustain the many social service institutions of the churches in the Middle East. These church-run colleges and clinics, schools and child care programs, nursing homes and special needs facilities, halfway houses and substance abuse programs have served not just Christians, but generations of Alawis, Druze, Jews and Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

“Not only have American Catholics helped to build these social service institutions,” said CNEWA’s president, Msgr. John E. Kozar, “they have helped sustain the infrastructures of the churches that remain beacons of peace and stability in the Middle East.”





1 | 2 | 3 |


Tags: CNEWA Middle East Christians Violence against Christians United States Christian Unity