- May 15, 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.
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.
“You know there are some critics who say the pope is not courageous but unconscious, that he’s taking steps against Catholic doctrine, that he’s one step from heresy,” Pope Francis said Monday. “These are risks, but these decisions are taken always in prayer, in dialogue, asking for advice.”
Pope Francis on Monday wrapped up his historic whirlwind tour of Iraq that sought to bring hope to the country’s marginalized Christian minority with a message of coexistence, forgiveness and peace.
Having witnessed or even experienced persecution for their faith, the Christians of Iraq must be careful not to harbor thoughts of revenge, Pope Francis told them.
The “tragic diminution of Jesus’ disciples here and across the Middle East,” the pope said, “does incalculable harm not just to the individuals and communities concerned, but also to the society they leave behind.”
A Jordan native and expert on Islamic affairs has said the changing faith dynamics of the Middle East has provided an opportunity to reflect on the underlying causes.
Iraqi President Barham Salih attended Christmas Eve Mass Thursday, telling faithful that not only would he make every effort to defend Christians and help them return to their land, but he also pledged to clamp down on extremist violence and root out government corruption.