Sunday, November 18, 2007

Baghdad Muslims Re-Build a Catholic Church and Pray

Michael Yon's iconic photograph of the finishing touches of repair being made to St. John's Catholic Church in Baghdad illustrates the changes that success is bringing to the people of Iraq. The photo shows Muslims raising the Chaldean Cross to the top of the dome over the church. Yon goes on to report how Muslims filled the pews of the service, a Mass offered by the Most Reverend Shlemon Warduni, Auxiliary Bishop of St. Peter the Apostle Diocese in Iraq.

The Muslims repaired the church and attended Mass while praying for the return of the thousands of Catholics who fled over the last four years the violence in their hometown. The final few were driven out or killed by al-Qaeda.

Their Muslim neighbors pray for the return of the Catholics to further stabilize their neighborhoods, to retake possession of their homes and shops, to gather again as neighbors, in peace.

Yon's photos of Muslims installing a cross and filling every pew listening to a Catholic bishop's homily says more about the progress of the war than a thousand pages in The New York Times.

Two years ago, Yon wrote how Iraq was falling into civil war. He was right a year ahead of everyone else. Today Yon writes of peace and potential victory, not just an ill-defined "success" but outright victory. We should hope that he is right. We should work to make certain that his "potential" becomes real.

Victory is possible but not certain. The difference is us.

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