One pastor causes inestimable damage

by Thomas C. Fox

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Catholic News Service ran a story this morning quoting the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican that a U.S. pastor's threat to burn copies of the Quran has damaged the image of the United States.

"The deliberate destruction of any holy book is an abhorrent act," said the ambassador, Miguel H. Diaz.

CNS reported that the expressed plans by a small Florida Pentecostal church to burn the Quran Sept. 11 represent "disrespectful acts" and in no way reflect "the sentiments of the American people or the U.S. government," he said in a written statement Sept. 10.

The ambassador's remarks came after the Florida pastor, the Rev. Terry Jones, announced he had called off the event, even though later he said he was going to "rethink" that decision.

"The U.S. government condemns the on-again, off-again plans" by the small evangelical group, Diaz said. "The mere threat by a pastor of a small Florida church has already damaged the image of the U.S."

Diaz's comments were the latest in a series of condemnations by international church leaders and officials.

Catholic bishops in Iraq and Pakistan joined a growing chorus of international religious leaders denouncing the planned burning.

Chaldean Catholic Bishop Shlemon Warduni, the auxiliary of Baghdad, told Catholic News Service the proposed act "is totally against the spirit of Christianity."

It's a shame that one person -- of questionable intelligence -- can do such damage.

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