Archbishop denounces chaos, fear in wake of Christian couple’s murder

.- Chaldean-Catholic Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk, Iraq has expressed regret over the climate of chaos, fear and confusion following the murder of an elderly Iraqi Christian couple.

Speaking on Vatican Radio, Archbishop Sako thanked Pope Benedict XVI for the concern he expressed for Iraq during the Angelus on Dec. 5.

The Pontiff is “truly a father who feels the pain of his sons and daughters,” he said.  “The situation is very difficult for Christians and Muslims” in Iraq because of the constant violence, the archbishop added.

The latest attack involved an elderly Christian couple, “Hikmat Sammak and his wife Samira, who had sold their home and moved north.  They had returned to Baghdad for two days to wrap up their move and sell what they had left,” the archbishop explained.

“Criminals broke into their home and cornered them. There was nothing humane or religious about this intimidating act.  We are a minority and when one Christian is kidnapped or killed, the entire community is afraid.  We don’t know where the country is going.”

Archbishop Sako said the Pontiff is “an important voice in the desert because we are alone in the desert, and his voice is a source of support and hope, a light in the midst of the darkness. This voice, the voice of the Holy Father, the voice of God in prayer and service, gives us strength.”

However, “in terms of the day-to-day situation, we need the help of an international force,” the archbishop added.  “Iraq needs help.”

The Iraqi security forces are not enough “to really guarantee security because often when there is an attack, nothing is ever resolved.  Confusion and chaos take hold, and people have lost confidence. We Christians are a target in Baghdad, in Mosul, and there is no security in these cities,” the archbishop concluded.

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