The following comes from a November 19 Catholic Herald article by Catholic News Service:

When Cardinal Edwin O’Brien was named grandmaster of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre in 2011, he found himself embroiled in a war a world away from the jungles of Vietnam where he ministered to dying troops as a young priest.

“The forces that are at work now are intent on eradicating the Christian civilization, nothing less,” said the 76-year-old US cardinal, who was in Sydney in October to reach out to the order’s 600 Australian members.

Christians in the Holy Land face “daily horrors,” while “our public is very blase about the whole thing,” Cardinal O’Brien said.

“Unless we face the facts, this radicalism, this extremism, is going to keep spreading,” he told The Catholic Weekly, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Sydney.

Islamic State militants attacked Assyrian Christians, one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, in northeastern Syria in February. Reports on the assault note that the militants emptied about 30 villages, kidnapped up to 300 people, destroyed churches, and forced about 1,000 local Assyrian families to flee their homes.

Most disturbing for Cardinal O’Brien is the lack of military response from the United States.

“We’ve had an opportunity to stop those forces” and “we did nothing to stop them,” said the cardinal who has spent much of his life working alongside the US military. “Now those Christian villages have been eradicated, (people) killed, taken into slavery.”