NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Pope Francis and Cardinal Timothy Dolan have denounced the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by Islamic State militants, with Dolan saying the attacks threaten “civilization itself.”
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported Tuesday, the brutal execution of the Coptic Christians, who were first paraded along the sore before they met their barbaric death, was denounced by Pope Francis.
“They only said, ‘Jesus help me,’” Pope Francis said through an aide.
The pope went on to say the Copts were murdered simply because they were Christians.
The pope’s denunciation, and the call for ecumenism – a respect of all religions – was echoed by Cardinal Dolan.
Dolan said ISIS and other terror groups are attacking people simply because of their religious views. The attacks in France and Denmark against Jews, along with the beheadings of Coptic Christians, show what Dolan charged was an “orchestrated fanaticism” against “any religion of peace.”
“This is hideous. This is scary. This is frightening,” Dolan said on his “Conversations with Cardinal Dolan” show on Sirius Satellite Radio. “And what adds and deepens the horror of the fear and the abhorrence that we’ve got now is that it just keeps going on and on.”
The cardinal charged that civilization itself was threatened by ISIS, comparing it to Adolf Hitler and Nazism.
“I’d like to think the world is gradually rising up and saying, ‘Enough of this,’” Dolan said. “This cannot go on. This cannot continue. We must call this what it is, and we must do something about it.”
The pope and Cardinal Dolan called on moderate followers of Islam to denounce ISIS.
“We need them to speak up and condemn this, lest this unfair, unjust and inaccurate caricature that Islam is a religion of hatred or violence,” Dolan said.
Some hoped the comments by the pope and cardinal would be a wake-up call for President Barack Obama.
“I would hope that the president would listen to the pope, listen to Cardinal Dolan, listen to other religious leaders,” said U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) “This president seems so reluctant to point out that Jews and Christians are being targeted by these Islamists.”
Dolan pointed out that on the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday, he would begin 40 days of “deep prayer, penance, and solidarity with those oppressed and suffering.”
He said fanatics want to take over, and we cannot let that happen.
Coptic Christians in Jersey City this week were also planning a prayer service for the 21 people slain by ISIS, whom they called “martyrs.” Joseph Ghabour, of the Coptic Orthodox Church of St. Mark in Jersey City, said the religion has been persecuted for thousands of years and worshippers are unsure of where it will be targeted next.
The prayer service with be held Thursday night at St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church in East Brunswick.