With ISIS threatening all of human civilization, no one of any background or religion can remain silent, said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.
The ISIS militants who are perpetrating these acts of violence in the name of Islam “threaten civilization, everything that is decent and noble about humanity,” Cardinal Dolan warned, saying that their vicious acts are creating a worldwide crisis that cannot – and must not – be ignored.
“These aren’t sporadic attacks. This is part of an orchestrated fanaticism, and ideology that sees Christianity, Judaism, and any religion of peace as the enemy,” he said Feb. 17 in the New York Post.
The cardinal responded to a graphic video that was released on Feb. 15 showing the execution of 21 Coptic Christians at the hands of ISIS militants in Libya.
“How much worse can it get?” the cardinal said, explaining that he was “deeply saddened to learn of the latest violence by fanatics who see anybody who disagrees with them as their enemy.”
Voicing distress at the recent acts of violence perpetrated by ISIS militants, Cardinal Dolan said he was moved to tears and prayer because the Coptic Christians were killed for “nothing less than their religious convictions.”
In addition to killing Christians and other religious minorities, the cardinal also believes that the Islamic State is orchestrating “a phobia of Christianity” throughout the world in an effort to stifle religious freedom until it is completed wiped out.
He pointed to “a coordinated effort on behalf of fanatics to see that true religion which stands for friendship, peace, and the dignity of the human person and the sacredness of human life, is stamped out.”
“We need Islamic religious leaders to stand up and say, ‘This is not Islam. This is a perversion of our faith,’” he continued.
Pointing to the civil unrest within Ireland over 40 years ago, Cardinal Dolan highlighted the Catholic bishops who stood up against the car bombings and violence committed by the Irish Republican Army, which “perversely identified itself as ‘Catholic.’”
These bishops should be seen as role models for the majority Islamic leaders who don’t identify with the Islamic State, Cardinal Dolan said, calling them to stand up against the extremist group and condemn their acts of terror.
“Fanatics want to take over, and we can’t let that happen,” he stressed.
Though many Christians have a price on their heads for their religious beliefs, Cardinal Dolan urged “men and women of all true creeds – Jewish, Christian and Islamic” to stand together and oppose the disordered system of the Islamic State.
“Simply because these Christians make the sign of the cross, there is a price on their head,” he observed, adding that “we cannot ignore their cries and cannot let their blood be spilled without moving us to tears and saying, ‘this must stop.’”
Lent, he continued, is a season of deep prayer, penance, and solidarity with the oppressed and suffering, offering people everywhere an opportunity to unite with the persecuted Christians around the world.
“This massacre leaves us not only with ashes on our foreheads, but with tears in our eyes, a lump in our throat and a burning in our heart.”