ASIA/IRAQ - Patriarch Luis Raphael I writes to the Chaldean diocese in the US: the priests who have emigrated without permission have to reflect on their vocation

Monday, 9 May 2016 oriental churches  

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) – To divide the ecclesial body in separate groups is a "serious sin", in a time when the Chaldean Church is also prompted by the dramatic historical circumstances which guards unity with special care. For this reason, even the communities in diaspora that belong to the eparchy of St. Peter of the Chaldeans, based in San Diego, California, are called to walk the path of reconciliation, and take advantage of the new Apostolic Administrator to favor the return to its "excellent start". This is what Patriarch Louis Raphael I said to the priests, religious and faithful of the Chaldean diocese in the US, in the letter which he also announces the appointment of Archbishop Shlemon Warduni, auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad as their Apostolic Administrator, waiting for the Chaldean Synod to proceed to the election of the new Bishop, after Saturday, May 7 Pope Francis accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Eparchy presented by Mgr. Sarhad Jammo.
In the message sent to the eparchy of St. Peter of the Chaldeans in San Diego, the Patriarch in particular directed the message to the "conscience" of the monks and Chaldean priests who from Iraq moved to the US without the permission of their superiors. The Patriarch invites them to reflect on their responsibilities as consecrated to Christ, and to keep Jesus alive in their hearts in order to overcome all the obstacles that prevent them from accomplishing their mission profoundly, beginning with the temptation to maintain comfortable positions and prestige. "Please", repeated the Primate of the Chaldean Church, "do not let anyone separate you from your original dioceses or monasteries... Your future relies on the Lord and on bearing a witness to Christ not only by words but by example, in denying yourselves, loving and serving your people, especially those in need".
The story of the monks and of diocesan priests who left their dioceses and religious communities in Iraq to emigrate and move abroad without the permission of the superiors has long been at the center of the pastoral care of Chaldean Patriarcate and the Chaldean Synod. "We have to live and die in the place where God calls us" wrote Patriarch Luis Raphael in a message dedicated to this pastoral problem already in September 2014 (see Fides 23/09/2014). Priests and religious – said the message then, relaunched by Agenzia Fides - "should not seek for comfortable living conditions, but serve the brothers following Christ, agreeing to also carry the cross, when required by the circumstances. This is why no one can leave their diocese or religious community without the formal approval of the Bishop or superior, as was also reiterated at the Synod of the Chaldean Bishops held in June 2013". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 09/05/2016)

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