- May 8, 2021
One of the most authoritative Catholic voices in Iraq has argued that the survival of Christians in the country depends on the creation of a secular state where all forms of sectarianism are eradicated.
The death toll from a massive fire at a Baghdad hospital for coronavirus patients rose to 82 Sunday as anxious families searched for missing relatives and the government suspended key health officials for alleged negligence.
Pope Francis has sent a letter to Iraqi Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako voicing thanks for his visit to Iraq last month and praising the local church for its charitable activities and its role in working to rebuild the country.
One month after Pope Francis’s historic visit to Iraq, one of the country’s top Catholic prelates has made the bold suggestion of enforcing a stricter separation between religion and the state.
Before returning to Rome from Iraq March 8, Pope Francis left $350,000 to assist families still suffering the impact of conflict or in dire straits because of the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, said Cardinal Louis Sako, the Baghdad-based patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church.
Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan, visiting from the patriarchate in Beirut, led about 20,000 Christians through the streets of Qaraqosh Palm Sunday, March 28.
Several top Church officials in Syria, including the Vatican’s ambassador to the country, have praised Pope Francis’s visit to Iraq earlier this month, saying the visit sent a message of hope to the entire region.
During a recent visit with the Catholic community in Iraq, Franciscan Father Dave Pivonka, president of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, said he and his university colleagues saw firsthand how strong the Catholic faith is in that country, even after decades of strife and violence, and how it is reemerging.