Loading
Amid violence, Iraqi archbishop ‘more pessimistic than ever’ about Christians’ future
Archbishop Louis Sako
Archbishop Louis Sako
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Louis Sako, Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk, has said that Iraqi Christians are facing “bad days” as “ineffective” security cannot prevent criminality and violence targeting Christian minorities. Many of the Christians who remain are in such fear that they too want to leave Iraq, he said.

The future of Christianity in Iraq, even in the short term, now “hangs in the balance,” Archbishop Sako said in a phone interview with the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Christians lack the protection of militia and have become “easy targets” for criminals, he reported.

Violence and the lack of jobs and services have encouraged many Christians to leave. There are now only 300 Christian families in southern Iraq and less than 400,000 Christians in Iraq as a whole. Within the past decade, their numbers have declined by 750,000.

In the northern city of Mosul, a former Christian heartland, many Christian families are “too afraid to come back.”

At one point in the interview, Archbishop Sako warned of rising extremism.

“Iraq is going to a narrow form of Islam,” he commented.

“I feel more pessimistic now than ever before. We do not have the same hope that we had before,” he told ACN. “In fact I am not seeing any signs of hope for the future. Our whole future hangs in the balance.

“We are experiencing bad days. Every group involved in criminal activity seems to be active.”

Archbishop Sako called Iraq’s security system “ineffective” and “unprofessional.”

“The government and the police are doing their best but they are incapable of controlling the situation,” he reported, saying that Christians are generally being attacked not because they are Christian but because they are seen to be defenseless.

Even one crime, abduction or killing makes the whole community want to move, he reported.

The archbishop spoke from Kirkuk, ten days after a Christian father of three was shot dead and a doctor was abducted on his way home in the city.

The turmoil is not localized to one part of Iraq.

“Every day, there are explosions – in Baghdad, Mosul, so many different places,” he added.

In July, militants attacked seven churches in Baghdad, killing and injuring dozens. Last week nearly 100 were killed in a series of attacks.

“Living in this climate, the Christian people are afraid. They are really worried. Despite what we tell them, encouraging them to stay, they want to leave,” Archbishop Sako said.

He reported that the people have lost patience with the country’s politicians. The prelate also called on Western countries to pressure Iraqi political groups to reconcile and try to reduce conflict and restore law and order.

“There can be no proper security without a real reconciliation. The only people who seem to be benefiting from the situation at the moment are the criminals. This has got to change,” he explained.

Archbishop Sako noted the crucial importance of interfaith work for coexistence between Christians and Muslims. While the archbishop is involved in initiatives in Kirkuk, such as hosting a Ramadan dinner this weekend, they are generally not replicated elsewhere in the country.

The work is small scale and involves individuals rather than the large groups crucial for attitude changes.

Church leaders and Christian politicians are also not doing enough to cooperate to confront common problems, Archbishop Sako told ACN.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
26

Liturgical Calendar

October 26, 2014

THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 22:34-40

Gospel
Date
10/26/14
10/25/14
10/24/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ex 22: 20-26
Second Reading:: 1 Thess 1: 5C-10
Gospel:: Mt 22: 34-40

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/26/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 22:34-40

Homily
Date
10/26/14
10/25/14
10/24/14