Cardinal George then said that the “voice of Christ speaks always from a consistent concern for the gift of human life.” He decried birth control, embryonic stem cell research, in vitro fertilization, and abortion as “the technological manipulation of life.”
Closing his speech, Cardinal George said he cannot depart from his role as president without speaking of “our Catholic brothers and sisters in Iraq.”
On Oct. 31, gunmen linked to al-Qaida took over 120 faithful hostage at the Syriac Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad during Mass, demanding that the Coptic Church of Egypt release the wife of one of its priests, whom the extremists claimed voluntarily converted to Islam and was subsequently locked up in a convent.
When the Iraqi military raided the cathedral to free the hostages, over 50 people, including 2 priests, were killed in a firefight and the explosion of suicide vests by the terrorists.
As he spoke about the attack, Cardinal George paused with emotion as he recalled the story of an American Dominican sister currently in Iraq. The religious sister told a friend of Cardinal George that witnesses saw a three-year-old boy named Adam follow the terrorists after the murder of his parents, admonishing them by repeating the words “enough, enough,” until he himself was killed.
“Dear brothers and sisters,” Cardinal George said, “we have all experienced challenges and even tragedies that tempt us to say 'enough.'”
“Yet all of our efforts, our work, our failures and our sense of responsibility pale before the martyrdom of our brothers and sisters in Iraq and the persecution of Catholics in other parts of the Middle East, in India and Pakistan, in China and Vietnam, in Sudan and African countries rent by civil conflict.”
“With their faces before us, we stand before the Lord, collectively responsible for all those whom Christ died to save,” he said. “May the Lord during these days give us vision enough to see what he sees and strength enough to act as he would have us act.”
“That will be enough.”