Iraqi Christians who are considering leaving the country should stay put and play a role in rebuilding their war-shattered homeland, a senior prelate said in Paris. "For me, staying and resisting as a Christian minority is the right way," Chaldean Archbishop Yousif Mirkis of Kirkuk told reporters during a visit to France to raise awareness and funds for an interfaith educational project he oversees.
Chaldean Catholic Church
Chaldean Catholics: "Christianity in the Middle East has had so much life, but it is now being destroyed in Iraq, Syria and the other countries of the 'Arab Spring.' "
Iraqi Christians cautiously welcome the start of the battle for Mosul and the Ninevah Plain, from which they were driven out by ISIS more than two years ago.
Iraqi refugee women who fled Islamic State group violence in their homeland have appealed to Pope Francis for help, sending a hand-sewn chasuble and imploring him to pray for peace.
Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad called for reconciliation and an end to all forms of extremism at an interfaith gathering he hosted.
Fr. Amer Saka, a priest working at the St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church in London, allegedly told his bishop, Emanuel Shaleta, he gambled away funds intended to help new Canadians.
Pope Francis expressed his fears over increasing violence in Iraq and prayed for peace, security and reconciliation in the country.
He also announced he would be visiting Albania Sept. 21 to encourage the Catholic minority there and the people "who long suffered as a result of the ideologies of the past."
Pope Francis praised the dedication of the retired patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Cardinal Emmanuel-Karim Delly, 86, who died Tuesday in a hospital in San Diego, according to the California-based Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle.
In a telegram of condolence to Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad, Pope Francis recalled "with deep gratitude the late patriarch's dedication to his people and to the promotion of respectful, just and peaceful relations with followers of other religious traditions."