- Jun 14, 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.
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.
One of Iraq’s top Church officials has praised the recent return of several confiscated properties belonging to Christians and other minorities, saying the move is one that could hasten the return of families who left the country due to injustice and persecution.
Political leaders had “very nice words” during Pope Francis’s early March trip to Iraq, but now Christians pray “that those words, those declarations, will be applied on the daily level, on the ground,” said Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan.
The story of Doha Sabah Abdallah’s personal tragedy and loss deeply resonated with Pope Francis during his historic visit last weekend to the northern Iraqi town of Qaraqosh, once devastated by Islamic State group militants.