Catholic leaders have expressed concern for tens of thousands of Iraqi Christian refugees sheltering in Jordan as access to international aid tightens with crises deepening in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Christianity in Iraq
Iraqi officials raised the national flag over the eastern part of Mosul: As some residents of the city of Mosul celebrate their new freedom from the Islamic State group, an Iraqi Christian leader who visited the war-torn city said Christian residents are unlikely to return. "I don't see a future for Christians in Mosul," said Father Emanuel Youkhana, a priest, or archimandrite, of the Assyrian Church of the East.
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.
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.
One of Iraq's Christians chased out of her historic homeland quietly prayed the rosary as a bishop who traveled halfway around the world to meet her and others displaced celebrated Mass for them.
"It's a journey of encountering God, the poor and the dispossessed," Bishop Oscar Cantu, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told the gathering in this predominantly Christian enclave in Irbil, capital of the northern Kurdistan region.
Making a Difference: The heart-wrenching tragedies throughout the Middle East are not the United States' fault; that is, at least not entirely.
Just Catholic: Iraq is ruptured and wounded. Its people are frightened and alone. But the world sees and looks away, distracted by other atrocities.
Over at Commonweal, Fr. Robert Imbelli last week posted several searing pleas for the Christians fleeing Mosul, Iraq, in the face of a takeover by violent forces of ISIS.
Iraqi Christian refugees braved temperatures as high as 122 degrees to demand that the United Nations intervene to protect them from persecution by Islamist militants.
Sahar Mansour, a Chaldean Catholic who fled Mosul, Iraq, in June, told Catholic News Service by email that she saw some of the demonstrators faint in the heat as they marched from their refugee camp in Ankawa to the U.N. base in Irbil.
Chaldean Archbishop Amel Shamon Nona said the Islamic State, which took control of Iraq's second-largest city in early June, is carrying out "religious cleansing."