The Chaldeans here have been pushing for practical, realistic forms of American involvement: creation of a protected zone and safe-passage corridors for Christians still in Iraq; an increased number of refugee visas and streamlined approval by State Department and Homeland Security screeners for Christians trying to reach America. Yet it seems to have taken the videos of two journalists being decapitated for much of the nation to finally heed the warning cries from places like the Mother of God Church.
“We call this a slow-motion genocide,” said Auday P. Arabo, the lay spokesman for the St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Diocese. “It’s unfortunate people don’t feel it until it hits home. But I guess it’s human nature that you only see what’s happening in the mirror.”
Bishop Kalabat was appointed by Pope Francis to his position — making him one of two Chaldean Catholic bishops for the United States — in early May. Soon after, he traveled to Iraq to meet with Christian refugees in the Kurdish town of Ankawa. More than 10,000 of them, soon to exceed 40,000, had taken shelter in schools and churches.
“What’s happening to us?” Bishop Kalabat said he recalls being asked. “Where’s our government? Where’s the U.S.? Where’s the world? Where’s the church? Where’s God?”