December 4, 2015

Faith, Hope and Charity / David Siler

French victims need our prayers, donations

David SilerNot that we needed yet another reminder, but the recent attacks in Paris gave us another horrific example of how evil is alive in the world.

It is human nature to want to assign blame when we witness such hideous acts of man’s inhumanity toward man so we can have a target for our outrage. I would suggest that our anger and disgust is most appropriately directed toward the source of evil.

Whatever name we assign to the source of evil, Scripture reminds us that “our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Eph 6:12).

As Catholics, we have to look upon these acts of violence and terror for what they are—acts of pure evil. Therefore, our battle has to be fought on the front from which it originates—the spiritual realm.

For centuries, violence against violence has not rooted out the evil, but only occasionally made it change course.

This is not to say, of course, that we do not have the right to defend ourselves from these acts of violence, but to get at the root of the issue requires us to root out the evil.

Like St. Paul implored the Ephesians, I implore all of us, “with all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit” (Eph 6:18).

In addition to prayer, many of you may want to respond in love to our brothers and sisters in France. Following is a statement issued by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the Church’s international humanitarian agency:

“On Friday, Nov. 13, Paris, France was hit by a series of brutal terrorist bombings. As fellow Catholics, we mourn the suffering of our brothers and sisters affected by these terrible acts of violence and hatred.

“We join our voices with Cardinal Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, who wrote, ‘Faced with the violence of men, may we receive the grace of a firm heart and without hatred. That moderation, temperance and control all of whom have shown so far are confirmed in the weeks and months to come; nobody indulges in panic or hatred. Ask for the grace to be peacemakers. We must never despair of peace, if one builds justice.’ ”

Our sister organization in the Caritas network—Secours Catholique (Caritas France)—is calling for prayer to foster solidarity and peace.

Secretary General Bernard Thibaud expressed that “more than ever, Secours Catholique believes in brotherhood, peace, justice, and all our actions are directed towards this goal. This is our best response to terrorist attacks.”

For those who wish to support their efforts, Secours Catholique is accepting donations for domestic programs for the poorest people and territories in France.

CRS has agreed to channel donations to Secours Catholique. Checks can be sent to CRS, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, Md., 21297-0303. Please put “Secours Catholique” in the memo line.

Thank you for your thoughts, prayers and gestures of solidarity for our brothers and sisters in France.

(David Siler is the executive director of the archdiocesan Secretariat for Catholic Charities. E-mail him at

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