The murder of U.S. journalist James Foley, and the posting of a video of the murder on the internet this past Tuesday evening by the Islamic State is both heartbreaking and appalling. First of all, heartbreaking for his grieving family, and secondly, it is appalling o see such evil, and to know that there are people in the world who have such disregard for human life, and such hatred for anyone who is not Muslim.
The Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, who has been forced to leave his diocese, along with all Iraqis who refuse to convert to Islam, Emil Nona, recently told the Italian press, “Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here. You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever-growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles.”
As we consider the conflicts around the world involving Islamic terrorist groups, it is clear that, as Archbishop Nona said, they are a serious threat not only in the Middle East, but to the U.S., Europe, and to all civilized nations. What can we do in the face of such evil?
Well, we can do what Catholics have always done when faced with an enemy that seems unbeatable, and we can do what James Foley did, when he was captured in Libia in 2011—we can turn to Our Lady and pray the Rosary. Just as the Ottoman naval fleet seemed destined to take control of the Mediterranean and invade southern Europe at the Battle of Lepanto, the Islamic State and other terrorist groups are determined to establish a “Caliphate” that includes the Middle East, parts of Africa, and even Spain.
But our faith tells us that prayer, especially to Our Lady, is powerful with God. When Pope V called for all of Christendom to pray the rosary for the Christian fleet, Christian fleet was victorious. Prayer defeats evil. That is what our faith tells us, even though it may not make sense to unbelievers. James Foley, in his letter to Marquette said,
“If nothing else, prayer was the glue that enabled my freedom, an inner freedom first and later the miracle of being released during a war in which the regime had no real incentive to free us. It didn’t make sense, but faith did.”
Will you pray one rosary with me today for all of the Christians and minorities affected by the violence in Iraq, and for the Islamic State and all Muslim terrorist groups to be stopped?