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Vatican : Iraqi bishops launch appeal to Pope to stop Christians fleeing

ICC Note

The Iraqi Christians have been fleeing their homes due to the violence that they faced from Islamic extremists. Leaders of the Chaldean Christian community asked the Pope to stop the exodus of Iraqi Christians.

01/22/2009 Vatican (AKI) – A delegation of Chaldean bishops launched an appeal to Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday to call for a general synod or church council to create a strategy to prevent Christians from leaving the region.

It is urgent “that the church takes a clear position in regards to the problems, (of the Christian community in the Middle East ) otherwise Christians will leave this land,” said Sako.

“We need the closeness of the church. We have the feeling of being isolated and forgotten,” he said.

Sako also said the church should make its presence felt in the area, something that Muslims also benefit from.

“There is an absence of the church in the area. We need to remember that the church is not only prayer and liturgy.

On behalf of the rest of the delegation, Sako said the problems of the Christians are the same in Lebanon and Palestine . For this reason, all bishops from the region – with the help of the Vatican – must tackle a series of issues together, he argued.

Sako concluded by saying that in the last few years, there has been more than 500 Iraqi Christian ‘martyrs’ who have been killed.

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