Pope in Bahrain: Treatment of prisoners a measure of society’s tolerance
By Emaan Ahmed
BEIRUT, Lebanon — A recent visit to the country brought a shock to the conscience of Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, archbishop of Chicago, who arrived in Bahrain, where he met with the king and other dignitaries, then went to a prison filled with the carcass of some 40 people whose lives were previously spared thanks to the United Nations.
Cardinal Burke, who was accompanied by Archbishop Joseph Kasperan of Toronto, the archbishop of the Maronite Church, met with six victims from the prison. They were all tortured initiators.
One of the men asked Cardinal Burke what role the Vatican had in this case. The cardinal replied, “The Vatican had no role. I am telling you personally and the archbishop, which has had the opportunity of visiting the prison, has told them what we have done.” It was a statement that shocked the cardinal. The word “them”, he said, referred to the US government which had the responsibility for this matter, but failed to act.
Cardinal Burke was referring to the United States Department of Defense’s role in the events surrounding the death of the three prisoners and their subsequent refusal to release the bodies to the Vatican. In this case, the Pentagon issued a report regarding the incident. A U.S. intelligence document called “Human Rights Watch Reports”, prepared after a visit to a detention center and presented to “Human Rights Watch”, published a detailed and damning account of the incident.
“I think the American intelligence report may have played a role, “ Archbishop Kasperan said in an interview in Tehran, Iran recently. He said he was surprised that the Pentagon had not taken the report more seriously. “They should have been interested in finding out what the human rights situation was. They have not been interested in finding out what other joint investigations were happening. This is a matter that the U.S. government should take very seriously.”
During the meeting with Cardinal Burke in Bahrain, the archbishop told the cardinal that he was shocked by the “absence of the Church in this. We should have seen it