Iraq church siege victim: 'My soul is in this place with them'
December 10th, 2010
09:10 AM ET

Iraq church siege victim: 'My soul is in this place with them'

By Jomana Karadsheh, CNN

Rafah Butros sat alone, sobbing in a corner as priests prayed for peace and forgiveness.

She had not been to church in three years until October 31, when her cousin threatened to stop visiting her if she did not go.

That day, militants stormed Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation Church, killing 51 congregants and two priests in a brutal attack that authorities said was the worst in a recent surge of violence targeting Iraq's Christians.

Butros survived. Her cousin, a 27-year-old priest, did not.

Butros was among more than 100 people who came to the church Thursday to mark 40 days since the attack - a mourning period commonly observed by some communities in the Middle East.

Read the full story here about the service to honor the victims of the Iraq church siege.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Death • Iraq • Mass • Religious violence • Violence

soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. doctore0

    One day people will grow out of this religious tribalism... Nothing fails like god/religion; Only greed keeps it afloat; Like Nigerian scam

    December 13, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  2. Peter F

    What a disaster. I pray the bloodshed will come to an end soon...

    December 11, 2010 at 1:39 am |
    • Sum Dude

      @Peter F
      Now there's a useless waste of time....isn't there something more secular you'd like to do?
      Like moving around and accomplishing actual things in the real world???

      December 11, 2010 at 10:59 am |
    • Ykcyc

      @Sum Dude
      Before you give orders to others, why don't you tell everyone what it is that you do to make this world a better place. It is much easier to criticise others when you, yourself have nothing to show for it. Peter's prayers may not be answered, but if everyone in the world had his intentions, it wouldbe a much better place. You have to start with yourself, before you tell others what to do. You judge people but really have no idea of who they are and what their life is like. All you do is imagine
      in your head. This image of people has nothing to do with reality. It is all only in your head, like any illusion / delusion.

      December 11, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      What the f..? What orders am I giving to others?

      Maybe you think your shlt doesn't stink, but I can certainly say that it does indeed stink.

      December 12, 2010 at 12:34 am |
    • Peace2All


      Hey there friend...!

      Big disclaimer: I realize that this is my personal interpretations of some of the things that you 'may' be suggesting and the world-view that you are operating from. So, with that said, I am totally aware, what I say below, may make -0- sense to you, or some sense, or a lot of sense. But, I thought I would take a risk knowing I have made some as-sumptions here.

      So, here goes:

      I am getting from some of your postings... i.e... "nothing has any inherent meaning accept the meaning I give it" and the idea of someone making assessments about someone elses world, or Reality in genteral... the quote "( the outside world)", as resonating with me in the fields of: Neuro-linguistics, Neuro-biology, and Neuro-linguistic Programming. And especially the study of Quantum theory, Neurology and the study of 'perception' in shaping our internal worldviews.

      The late Dr. Alfred Korzybski, widely considered a pioneering philosopher and considered the father of 'general semantics' had very similar views of what you seem to be asserting as Self- imbuing meaning into internal and external reality. #1) Your comment: "Nothing has any inherent meaning accept the meaning we assign/give it."

      And #2) Where you seem to be acknowledging the self-subjective world and perceptual filters that we 'view' -Reality (not you @Reality!!) from. i.e.. your comments to @Reality of not really knowing you, but operating from and through his 'perceptual filters,' beliefs, etc...

      One of his (Dr. Korzybski's) seminal works is: "Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics" by Dr. Alfred Korzybski

      Which I found, and still do find to be an absolutely fascinating read. I've read it several times as it is very 'deep' book to try and digest it all in one read. Also, I would guess for anyone, who may be interested in the nature and structure of subjective reality-you may want to give it a try too.

      The following, thoughts, ideas and quotes 'might' be of interest to you from Dr. Korzybski:

      "If words are not things, or maps are not the actual territory, then, obviously, the only possible link between the objective world and the linguistic world is found in structure, and structure alone."
      – Dr. Alfred Korzybski

      "Thus, we see that one of the obvious origins of human disagreement lies in the use of noises for words."
      -Dr. Alfred Korzybski

      "Two important characteristics of 'maps' should be noticed. A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness."
      -Dr. Alfred Korzybski

      ME-–(I see this as one of the best 'models' for representing the interplay between the... quote..('inside/subjective' world, and the quote...'outside/objective' world.) In other words our 'map' of reality is just that... our own 'subjective map.' It's like understanding that a 'map' of California, is 'not' the same thing of truly experiencing California. Our internal 'maps' of REALITY, will always be 'incomplete' and highly 'distorted' by our own conscious and sub-conscious beliefs, neurology, perceptions, values, etc...

      But, we evaluate our subjective 'maps' of REALITY in terms of 'usefulness.'

      "Whatever you say it is, it isn't."
      -Dr.Alfred Korzybski

      ME-Again, another example that our words (noises we make) are not the actual experience itself. We must go inside and make meaning of the communications that are given us. The words do not actually represent the vastness of the person, thing, experience...etc..

      Anyways, @Ykcyc.... I don't know if you, or anyone else for that matter will find any of this of value/interest/usefullness or though-provoking, but it just seemed appropriate to me, in relationship to your postings.

      If you make it back to my post, I would sincerely appreciate your thoughts/opinions on this. That goes for anyone else too...

      The study of the structure of subjective reality has always been a passion and fascinating topic for me. Anyone else...? 🙂


      December 12, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  3. Ykcyc

    That is the key, my friend, to be open. All too often people place themself within extremely limited points of view on all sides, excluding all others. Truth can not belong to anyone, freedom can only be free. A closed mind will never be able to be one with all there is, by dividing reality into little bits and pieces. Thanks for the chat. May the peace be with you.

    December 10, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • Reality

      Might want to read, Biocentrism by Lanza and Berman.

      The Third Principle of Biocentrism, The behaviour of subatomic particles, indeed all particles and objects is inextricably linked to the presence of an observer. Without said observer, they at best exist in an undetermined state of probability waves.

      December 10, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Thank you my friend... Interesting in that our attempt to use words as symbols to describe something ineffable and beyond measure is often very frustrating, as I have had an NDE several years ago, and still affects me to this day. The sense of unlimited infinite freedom, seems to match my experience. But, still hard to put in words.

      Anyways, peace to you as well... Again, looking forward to chatting with you...

      BTW– Enjoyed the writings enti-tled RELIGION above.


      December 11, 2010 at 12:46 am |
    • Ykcyc

      What have you personnaly observed? Maybe if you "quoted" others a little less and yourself paid a little more attention, you would have noticed, all by yourself, that nothing that happens has any inherent meaning, other than the one we give it. You just need to be present, conscious and aware, to see what that meaning is, where it comes from, and why you give it. Otherwise, you represent the very thing you are fighting. The flavor is a little different, but it is the very same thing, friend.

      December 11, 2010 at 6:54 am |
    • Reality


      Obviously, you are simply reiterating in blue collar terms, quantum theory.

      December 11, 2010 at 7:24 am |
    • Ykcyc

      You are making assumptions. Nothing is obvious. What I am trying to convey is not a theory.
      It is available to anyone able to point their attention and observe. Don't take my word for it.
      You need to open up a little and see for yourself. What are your afraid of?

      December 11, 2010 at 9:04 am |
    • Reality

      Obviously, some are not willing to read books on quantum theory.

      December 11, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      You are missing the point. You are missing the obvious. It is much closer than that.
      In reality, we don't know anything, we just think that we do. All you have to do is notice.
      As you observe, the Sun may appear to be rising or setting, but is it what it is really doing?
      Aren't there limits to the observations we are able to make, even using instruments?
      Don't we have a tendency to jump to conclusions? If basic necessities were no longer available, then what?
      The oil will end. The ice age will come. The Sun will die. And none of the opinions or believes will really matter anymore.

      Notice, where I exist in your observations and is your image or thoughts of me real?

      December 11, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  4. Ykcyc

    I don't have the answer to your question, friend. Anyone who says they do, is either lying or is delusional. God is only a made up word. None of the words can possibly describe the immensity and diversity of the space we call Universe, containing all the matter. I just know that things the way they are for a reason, otherwise they simply would not be. I can't begin to imagine and don't know what that reason is, but I am filled and thankful for this very moment.

    December 10, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
    • Peace2All


      I agree with you. There are continuing evolutions of 'models' and 'theories.' Some of which I find some to be, obviously in my limited *opinion* more plausible than others, but as an 'agnostic' I just keep my mind open to all possibilities. And, I too am thankful for every moment.

      Again, nice chatting with you.. Hope to talk on other articles/threads with you at some point.


      December 10, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  5. Peace2All


    Hi there...!

    You Said: "There is only one reason why everything happens. But whatever I say, everyone has to get to that place by themselves."

    I am sincerely curious as to what you have to say about this.


    December 10, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      The only reason everything happens is because the conditions are right. From conception, big bang, birth, death, rain, snow, exploding stars, etc. Nothing can happen, unless the conditions are right. We exist, temporarily, because the conditions are right. What controls these conditions is a different story. Some, say it is all completely random. However, if that is the case, then the laws of physics that create these conditions are random, as well. How did these laws have come into being? What keeps the atoms together to form my body? Why do they fall apart (not split, David), when I die? 500 years ago, people thought that the Earth was flat and a center of the Univers. We have not gone a whole lot farther, but maybe just a little ahead of ourselves.

      December 10, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Thanks for responding.

      I understand the 'conditions being right' part. I don't want to a-ssume what your inference is, seeing that you are stating that 'randomness' is not the case here. So, what do you specifically think it is......God..? Intelligent Energy/Designer...? Something else...?

      No argument here... just again, sincerely curious.

      Thanks again for chatting.


      December 10, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
  6. Reality


    Religion is a sickness of the mind"

    Obviously said author suffers from said sickness as noted in his/her final line: "The fact, God does exist, it’s only Love".

    December 10, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      You are very dedicated to what you see as your cause at this moment. I was an arrogant, ultra orthodox atheist, in charge of my own "destiny" once, conditioned to believe certain thoughts and reject others, until I realized that all thoughts are not real. Ask yourself, if you are, who you think you are, what can you control? If we don't control our cells dividing, blood circulating, heart beating, bowel movements, breathing, etc., then how is it that we can control our destiny? Did you pick your birth date? Will you pick your death date?
      I feel compassion for people, who don't feel love inside. They may not know the difference between a dead, empty, lifeless existence and a complete loving acceptance of whatever happens. God is only a three letter word. There is only one reason why everything happens. But whatever I say, everyone has to get to that place by themselves.

      December 10, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      You are still arrogant. You say you have compassion, well it must be taking the day off. Why don't you work on these things a little longer before hitting that "post" button? It really makes a difference sometimes.

      December 11, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
  7. Calus

    Religious people have no business being alive when they are that stupid.
    A very large meteor would take care of that little problem.

    December 10, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      Here is another good example of a "deep thinking" and a "loving" humanitarian, who thinks that "they" (women, children...) should not be allowed to live, just because of a difference in an opinion and that they (whoever "they" might be) are stupid because “they” don't think, act, or look the same. And the difference between him and the rest of the unconscious world is? Here is a new Hitler in the making, but we already have seen how that story ends. I just don't get the reasoning of how would a large meteor discriminate between this genius and the rest of the “stupid” bunch. This one must have developed immunity to large meteors and did not evolve to see that we are all in the same boat, to share whatever is to come. I hope these genes will not be passed, for the sake of the mankind.

      December 10, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  8. Ykcyc

    @ David Johnson
    David, you are so far in your own head that is not funny. First, you assume you know what I believe in. Then, you pass your judgement, based on your own home grown "religion". There is really no difference between you and all those religious nuts, running around, claiming to be in a posession of the truth. You ar just a different flavor of the same blind insanity that has gripped humanity. I am sure you will disagree, because of the high opnion you have of yourself and your overwhelming desire be right and to show off that youare so fn wonderfull to everyone. ;0))

    December 10, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You're poetry sucks.

      December 11, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      I have seen better poetry from you.
      David's right about this latest poem. It sucks.
      You've made some pretty good ones in the past.
      Maybe you should deflate that ego of yours a tiny bit, eh?

      December 11, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      @ Sum
      If it realy sucs, as you say, why don't you post one of yours, instead of holding on to David's Jonson.

      December 11, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
    • Sum Dude


      Child, I was writing poetry before you were born. A lot of it sucked. I don't have to post my own crap to know that yours sucks.

      When you want to talk like a grown-up person, feel free. We'd love to hear anything intelligent that you might have to say.

      December 12, 2010 at 12:37 am |
    • Peace2All


      Again... Your poetry spoke to me on many levels of awareness. I thought it was quite well done. Obviously, in my *opinion.* -David and -Sum Dude, obviously did not.

      I guess that's one of the things about the beauty and subjective nature of any kind of 'art'- It will speak to some and not to others, with varying responses and reactions in between.

      No right or wrong, 'unless' a specific set of criteria is agreed upon, to which the observers can base their assesments against said criteria specifics to be compared or judged against.

      Anyways... again, I liked it. I would love to see more.


      December 12, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
  9. David Johnson

    Article said:
    "She (Rafah Butros) had not been to church in three years until October 31, when her cousin threatened to stop visiting her if she did not go.
    That day, militants stormed Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation Church, killing 51 congregants and two priests in a brutal attack that authorities said was the worst in a recent surge of violence targeting Iraq's Christians.
    Butros survived. Her cousin, a 27-year-old priest, did not."

    Do you think god killed Butros' cousin, to remind her to get to church more often?

    God works in mysterious ways. I guess god's plan for Butros' cousin involved being gunned down... sucks to be him, huh?


    December 10, 2010 at 9:18 am |
    • Frogist

      @David Johnson: It's a sad coincidence made more sickening by people using it to justify the greatness of god and his mysterious ways.

      December 10, 2010 at 11:11 am |
    • Ykcyc

      This is also a fine lesson for all those proclaimed to be self sustained and self determined beings, who preach and claim to be in control of their own destinies, that they really don't know any more than a gnat, that is just about to be swatted.

      December 10, 2010 at 11:46 am |
    • David Johnson


      This was a coincidence. Random chance. You are so deluded by your belief, you funny.

      If these sorts of things are "planned" by god, then it means there is no free will. So any reward of punishment system is pointless.

      Do you ever think?


      December 10, 2010 at 11:50 am |
    • salmos8318

      Wow, seriously? Eccl 9:11 "time and unforeseen occurrence befall us all". Any of us could be at the wrong place at the right time.... has nothing to do with God's works.

      December 10, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
    • Ykcyc


      Religion is a sickness of the mind
      It twists, distorts reality and will
      Divide, sort, break, and label our kind
      Delusion that is truly evil, ill.

      Religion is a sickness of the world
      Opinions, positions, thoughts, beliefs
      Can only bring destruction, pain, and war
      Can only cause more bloodshed, grief, and tears

      Lies that are spread to keep the hate alive
      Contagious blindness, masked as real Truth
      To see, one only has to look with open mind
      And open heart, to break from prison of their views

      Blind faith, unconsciousness, fanatic make-believe
      Like wounded animal, tries to defend itself
      Imagined enemies and threats to it’s own myth
      Cause pain and suffering in it’s own hell

      Infects our minds with thoughts of right and wrong
      Pretends to be the Truth, to know what it is
      Based on reality that’s long been gone
      It lies of Love, true kindness, bliss, and peace

      Pretends, as if it’s possible in words
      Express the miracle, that is One Life, itself
      The depth of space, the “why?” of countless worlds
      Contained in dusty books, decaying on the shelf?

      Reality itself, Eternal, Infinite, Divine
      It’s purpose, plan, and reason “why?”
      It’s everywhere and all the time
      For “special me”, to grant me “mine”?

      For us to feel the joy, to simply be
      Exists reality beyond religion’s plan
      Beyond the ego’s, “mine”, and “me”
      Lies consciousness of Tao and Zen.

      To notice, all we have to do is listen, look
      Inside, One Truth, One Life is who we truly are
      But, we won’t get from “them” or “their books”
      The fact, God does exist, it’s only Love.

      December 10, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Very nice...


      December 11, 2010 at 12:38 am |
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.