It was an act steeped in symbolism to help the communities threatened by Islamic State militants in Iraq. The archbishop of Lyon handed over the keys of an ambulance to Chaldean Catholic Patriarch, Louis-Raphael I Sako of Baghdad at a benefit dinner on Thursday. The growing refugee crisis and the threat posed by IS groups in the region has the Archbishop calling for more action.
“To have peace and for everyone to remain where they are, sometimes force must be used against those who use violence, therefore the use of force is not against peace,” explained Archbishop of Lyon, Philippe Barbarin. “I am reminded of a phrase when there was the conflict in the Balkans, in Srebrenica and the massacres where Jean Paul II said ‘sometimes pacifism works against peace, it leads to more violence and oppression’ therefore the use of force has just one aim which is to restore peace in the world.”
The Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako echoed his call for the use of force.
“Local people want change, they want acts not just words. To face these militants we need a military force and not merely shelling targets, we need boots on the ground with the help and cooperation of the Iraqi army and the Kurdish army.”
Pope Francis did back military action to protect religious minorities in August. Envoys from the region are currently meeting with the pontiff at the Vatican to discuss a response to the crisis.