The Apostolic Nuncio to Iraq and Jordan, Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt, said the inter-religious dialogue that was encouraged and carried out for so long by the deceased Archbishop Paulo Faraj Rahho of Mosul must be continued in his memory.
In an interview with the L’Osservatore Romano, Archbishop Chullikatt emphasized that the Christian minority in Iraq is obligated to engage in dialogue and wants the Iraqi people to understand that Christians do not want war or misunderstanding but rather “peace and fraternity.”
Inter-religious dialogue, he said, “must continue moving forward. This crime will not wipe out our relations. For our part we are willing to carry forward our mission, the mission of the Church, just as the Archbishop of Mosul did for many years.”
“Archbishop Rahho was a convincing and effective promoter of inter-religious dialogue,” the nuncio continued, “and for this reason we must continue working with more dedication in his memory. We must continue the work of Archbishop Rahho so that it will not be wiped out by this crime. Jesus Christ was also the victim of a cruel act,” he added.
Referring to the violence that takes place daily in Iraq, Archbishop Chullikatt lamented that “each day dozens of people die. Fundamentalists without scruples sow panic everywhere. The entire population lives in fear. The Christian community, as a minority, faces life in precarious conditions.”
However, he went on, “we cannot be locked in our homes. We have the duty to talk and to dialogue with the populace and our community. For this reason we will ask the Iraqi government for greater protection, above all for priests, religious and ourselves.”
“We are losing valuable people who profess the word of God everyday,” the nuncio said. “The Iraqi government must take adequate measures to allow us carry out our mission, the mission of the Church,” he stated.