Loading
Iraqi Christians have ‘great hope’ in ‘tragic’ situation, Kirkuk archbishop says
Archbishop Louis Sako
Archbishop Louis Sako

.- Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Kirkuk Louis Sako, lamenting the number of Iraqi Christians who have been murdered or driven into exile by persecution, has said that the Christian community possesses “great hope” amid the “tragedy” of its circumstances. A total of 750 Christians have been murdered in the past five years, including Archbishop of Mosul Paulos Faraj Rahho, Archbishop Sako told a press conference convened by the charities Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Pro Oriente and Christian Solidarity International.

"Some 200,000 Christians have left the country. This is a tragedy for us," he said, appealing for support to help the Christian community to help its members remain in Iraq or return to their country.

Christians themselves are concerned about the proposed withdrawal of U.S. troops, he said, naming the lack of security in the country to be its gravest problem.

The Iraqi army and police were not yet strong enough to take over, the archbishop reported.

“Under Saddam's regime we had security but no freedom. Today we have freedom, but the problem is security,” he said, according to ACN.

Archbishop Sako called on the international community to help both Christian refugees and those Christians who remain in Iraq.

Many Christians are now living in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, a situation which the archbishop called “a great challenge for the Church.”

Families have also fled to small towns in northern Iraq where there is almost no employment.

The archbishop said it was “a scandal” that the human rights of Christians in Iraq were being ignored. Noting that Christians, too, are full citizens of the country, he said that they had been living in the country for 2,000 years and if they were finally expelled an important part of the culture and history of Iraq would also be lost.

He also reported that many Iraqis equate the country’s Christians with the U.S. troops, whom many believe have come to Iraq to fight against Islam.

Nonetheless, Archbishop Sako said Christians had not given up hope.

“We have many problems, but we also have great hope. We are not afraid, but rather we want to be able to live together with the Muslims in Iraq in peace,” he said.

A dialogue with Muslims is still possible, he said, but it must not be a theological dialogue but a “dialogue of life.” He added that it is important for Muslims to come to grips with the “responsible freedom” of man from their own religious perspective.

Saying that Muslims should find an interpretation of the Koran appropriate for the present, he said it is a problem that “Muslims are living as though in the seventh century.”

Archbishop Sako thanked ACN, Christian Solidarity International and Pro Oriente for their active help and projects in Iraq.

“This is helping the Christians to remain there, despite their difficult situation,” he commented.


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?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
23

Liturgical Calendar

April 23, 2014

Wednesday within the Octa ve of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Gospel
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:1-10
Gospel:: Lk 24:13-35

Saint of the Day

St. Adalbert of Prague »

Saint
Date
04/21/14
04/20/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Homily
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: