ASIA/IRAQ - Chaldean Patriarch: priests must not favor or even arrange the exodus of Christians

Wednesday, 13 April 2016 refugees

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - The Church as such, and especially priests, should in no way be involved directly in operations and programs to plan and organize the exodus of Iraqi Christians to foreign countries, and anyone who continues to ignore such reprimand will take responsibility for his choices even in front of patriarchal authority. This is how the Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldeans warned pastoral workers, and especially the patriarchal clergy, from getting involved directly in the organization of the expatriation of Iraqi Christians who continue to leave their country, following the migration routes that from the Middle East lead to Europe and America.
The sensitive issue was discussed by Chaldean Bishops in a recent meeting, held in Erbil, under the chairmanship of Patriarch Raphael Luis I. During their confrontation - so reads the final statement - the members of the Chaldean Episcopate also denounced the ambiguous operations carried out by individuals and non-clerical groups not directly related to the Church, who are misusing this tragic situation for "economic, political and media interests". Respecting the free decisions of those who try to leave the country to ensure a more peaceful future for their family, the Bishops warn Iraqi Christians from the dangers that often hangs over migration operated illegally by traffickers and unscrupulous organizations.
Potential victims of those who cultivate interests around the migration of Iraqi Christians are above all the Christian populations who have fled Mosul and Nineveh Plain with the arrival of the self-proclaimed Islamic State jihadists (Daesh), and now live in precarious conditions in Erbil and other areas of Iraqi Kurdistan. In the statement, sent to Agenzia Fides, the Chaldean Bishops reiterate that the liberation of Iraq's regions occupied by the jihadists of Daesh obviously cannot be the responsibility of the Church, or political parties nor the Iraqi government as a state. But it requires basically an international, regional and Iraqi cooperation for a complete liberalization of the Iraqi territory that will ultimately allow families to return to their homes. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 13/04/2016)