Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - A reprimand to priests and religious who left Iraq without having asked and obtained the necessary consent of their superiors was released on Monday, September 21 by the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Louis Raphael I. In the statement, sent to Fides Agency, the Primate of the Chaldean Church wishes everyone to rediscover "the absolute joy of the service of the Gospel" and points out that, because of their condition, priests and monks cannot decide "where to serve, how to serve and those who to serve", making choices in an individualistic way, without giving account to anyone for their decisions. "We have to live and die in the place where God calls us" repeats the Chaldean Patriarch in his message. Also - he adds - priests and religious should not have desire for comfortable living conditions, but serve the brothers following Christ, even agreeing to carry the cross, when required by the circumstances. For this reason, no one can leave their diocese or religious community without the formal approval of the Bishop or his superior, as reaffirmed on the occasion of the Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean held in June 2013. Already at that time, to put a stop to a malpractice spread in recent years, the Chaldean Synod of Bishops held in Baghdad ruled that no priest can transfer his residence from one diocese to another without the consent of both the Bishops.
Now, after the tragic events that in northern Iraq have involved tens of thousands of Christians forced to flee their homes before the advance of the jihadists of the Islamic State (IS), Patriarch Louis Raphael I recalls all the Chaldean priests and religious who left Iraq and moved to the Chaldean diaspora communities around the world, to return to their country and put themselves at the service of those who are most in need. The Patriarch finally warns that disciplinary measures will be taken for those who, within a month, do not respond to the call by giving his account of his situation to their superiors. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 23/09/2014)