U.S. bishops speak out against attack in Turkey

| June 29, 2016 | 1 Comment
Relatives of one of the victims of the June 28 suicide attack at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport mourn June 29 in front of a morgue in Istanbul. The bombings killed dozens and wounded more than 200 as Turkish officials blamed the carnage at the international terminal on three suspected Islamic State group militants. CNS

Relatives of one of the victims of the June 28 suicide attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport mourn June 29 in front of a morgue in Istanbul. The bombings killed dozens and wounded more than 200 as Turkish officials blamed the carnage at the international terminal on three suspected Islamic State group militants. CNS

Following the June 28 terrorist attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport in Turkey, the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference and Chicago’s archbishop issued statements emphasizing the need to find comfort in faith and show support the suffering with prayer and generosity.

The attack left over 40 people dead and over 230 injured.

“Evil tests our humanity. It tempts us to linger in the terror of Istanbul, Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino [and] Orlando,” said Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Christians should not focus on violence and let fear numb their compassion, he added, but instead should focus on faith and “reach out to our brothers and sisters in solidarity.”

“As violence picks up its deadly pace, we can draw strength from God’s endless mercy,” he added.

Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich said the attack during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan “showed a deep lack of respect for faith and human life.”

In the Chicago Archdiocese, Catholics joined Muslims June 27 to celebrate the annual Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago Catholic-Muslim’s “iftar,” the meal that traditionally ends Muslim fasting during Ramadan.

“Let the spirit of prayer and respect that pervaded that gathering grow in the coming weeks and months and leave no room for hatred and suspicion among our people,” the archbishop said.

He also asked Catholics of the archdiocese to dedicate themselves to working for peace and understanding in the memory of those lost and injured.

Pope Francis led pilgrims in praying for peace and for the victims of the Istanbul terrorist attack after he recited the Angelus prayer with visitors in St. Peter’s Square.

The attack took place in the international terminal and the parking lot of the airport when three suspected terrorists opened fire and, shortly after, detonated their suicide vests.

Although no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters that preliminary signs point to the Islamic State, according to Reuters.

The terrorist organization carried out a similar attack at Brussels Airport and the Maelbeek metro station in Belgium March 22, which killed 32 people and wounded over 300.

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  • Charles C.

    One more time. Dozens killed yet again by Islamic militants. Let’s pray again, and I mean that sincerely.

    Prayer is a good thing, especially in times of pain and suffering. It seems like that is the only thing we can hold on to at times.

    We have entered a period which appears to be similar to the persecution of the Roman emperors. People killed for their religion, prayers and martyrdom the main course on the community’s menu, and the eventual growth and “resurrection” of the Church after a period underground.

    The early Christians didn’t have the means to protect themselves, at least sometimes, from such deaths. We do, but the bishops and many in government choose not to use them. Maybe they’re right.

    Maybe it is time for the Church to enter a period underground. A time when only steadfast Catholics, willing to suffer for and adhere to the truth, survive and serve as the seed for future generations of Catholics. That seems to be the case in countries like China and North Korea.

    How many Catholics are there in the Archdiocese? Maybe as many as a third of those who claim the title? I suspect it’s quite a bit less, but the number is sufficient to be the seed for a new generation years from now, after the present Church leaves the period of suffering caused by external forces and even by some of the leaders of the Church who have failed to support and strengthen her.

    So yes, pray.