2010-11-27 13:11:23

Vatican official prays for Christians in Iraq

(November 27, 2010) Christians must be allowed to remain in their homeland, said a Vatican official during a Mass to pray for victims of religious persecution in Iraq. Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches celebrated a Mass in St Peter’s Basilica on November 25, calling on Iraqi authorities and civil society groups to pursue peace and reconciliation. The liturgy was celebrated at the initiative of the Procurator of the Syrian Catholic Church, His Beatitude Youssef Younan III, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, in honour of the 58 people who were killed in the terrorist attack on the Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad on October 31. “We must face and resolve Iraq’s problems on Iraqi soil. This is the only way to ensure a future for the Church in Iraq,” said the Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Baghdad while speaking to Vatican Radio earlier that day. He added that since the attack, more Christians have been targeted, citing related murder cases in Mosul, northern Iraq. Two Syrian Catholic brothers were shot dead and a Christian woman was found strangled in her home on October 22. A week earlier, a Christian man and his 6-year-old daughter were killed in a car bombing. Some of the survivors from the October 31 tragedy also attended the Mass. Cardinal Sandri called on the ambassadors present from different religious denominations to urge their governments for concrete action, “to promote the peaceful coexistence of individuals and communities throughout the Middle East.”

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