http://www.catholicculture.org – 2/5/14
Eleven years after the US invasion of Iraq, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church declared that “we are a ruined church” and said that “1,400 years of Islam could not uproot us from our land and our churches, while the policies of the West [have] scattered us and distributed us all around the world.”
“Democracy and change come through upbringing and education rather than through conflict,” said Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako, who has governed the Eastern Catholic church since February 2013. “Intervention by the West in the region did not solve the problems … but on the contrary, produced more chaos and conflict.”
Referring to the regime of Saddam Hussein, he said that “in the Church of the Ascension, Al-Mashtal, for example, there were about 5,000 families and over 240 students preparing for their First Holy Communion before the regime’s fall.” On “25 April 2014, I celebrated in this church the Holy Mass for First Holy Communion of 13 students only.”
“[Iraqi] government authorities bear part of the responsibility of this migration for failing to restore security and stability,” the patriarch said. He also called upon Muslim clerics to “issue a joint statement denying all forms of violence, mistrust and considering others as ‘infidels'” and calling “for peace and brotherhood among the people.”
In recent days, Patriarch Sako has drawn frequent attention to the plight of Iraqi Christians, decrying Iraq’s vanishing Christian presence in an interview with Agence France-Presse.
©Assyrian International News Agency.