.- The Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, Basilios Georges Casmoussa, has called on Christians around the world to help Iraqi Christians.
Speaking to the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), he urged Christians to pressure political leaders to help those peoples whom they have "abandoned on the altars of their political and economic interests." "We are not mere puppets, nor are we simply firewood to be thrown on the fire," he continued.
The archbishop linked Iraqi Christians' efforts to survive in the "country of their fathers" to the task of improving living conditions for all Iraqis.
Archbishop Casmoussa also asked for prayers for two Iraqi priests who were kidnapped on Saturday. One victim, Father Mazen Mattoka is a newly ordained priest, while the other, Father Pios Affas, 68 year-old in poor health, was about to take charge of the Center for Biblical Studies in Mosul. The archbishop asked believers to intensify their prayers "in the certainty that God, our loving Father, loves us more than we love ourselves."
One ACN official described the situation for Christians in Iraq as "extremely difficult" and called for prayer and solidarity with them.