Skip to main content


Nuncio in Iraq Assesses Situation After One Year of War

3/22/2004 - 6:00 AM PST

Advertisment

Interview With Archbishop Fernando Filoni

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 22, 2004 (Zenit) - At the first anniversary of the start of U.S.-led war in Iraq, Archbishop Fernando Filoni, the papal nuncio in that country, offered Vatican Radio an assessment of the situation.

Q: Has the war ended?

Archbishop Filoni: The first chapter, of course, has ended, that of the battle between two armies, if it can be said that it ever took place.

In any case, this chapter is closed. Certainly, the chapter is still open of the normalization of a country which has difficulty in accepting its state of occupation and obviously all that stems from this.

Q: Is the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq desirable?

Archbishop Filoni: The question is very delicate, because at present there is a lack of real local authority and, having dissolved all the preceding structures, the problem is to know what security will there be, if at present help is lacking from those already on the scene. Therefore, to be specific: The country must not be left in chaos.

Q: A year ago, you, together with the ambassador of Cuba, were the only diplomat who stayed in Baghdad during the Anglo-American attack on the Iraqi capital. What do you remember of those days?

Archbishop Filoni: More than memories, I would like to mention the lesson we must all try to learn from this event and from the year that Iraq has lived through, with its repercussions on the international level.

Such complex problems cannot be resolved by war, without dialogue, without good will for peace. War does not resolve such complex problems. If anything, it actually aggravates them.

Q: How does the Iraqi population live today?

Archbishop Filoni: It is a population that does not have a real economy properly speaking.

It tries to survive with the little it can do, because of the lack of work. It has health problems, problems of electrical and telephone services, etc. It is a situation of survival, it is not a genuine economy.

But given that it is a rich country, there is the hope that the economic fabric will be reconstructed on which the development of the whole country can be based.

Q: Has the war harmed coexistence between Muslims and the Christian minority?

Archbishop Filoni: No, no. The Christians lived absolutely through the same problems as the Muslims, the same difficulties.

They have had their dead, they have had their wounded just like the whole population. The problem at present is not religious; it is a problem of the whole of Iraq.

Q: What has changed in the Catholic Church with the fall of Saddam Hussein?

Archbishop Filoni: The Catholic Church continues its work, at present, trying to respond to the spiritual needs of the people, and also to offer moral and psychological support.

We continue to offer all those initiatives of humanitarian work, with a certain autonomy and freedom, as before everything had to be authorized. Now there is the autonomy and freedom to organize oneself according to one's daily needs.

Q: Does this situation of chaos that Iraq is going through, damage the pastoral life of the Catholic minority?

Archbishop Filoni: More than damaging it, at times it limits it, because the lack of security obliges people not to leave home after a certain time. For example, they cannot attend traditional celebrations.

Q: What do you foresee for the future of Iraq?

Archbishop Filoni: As men of the Church, as Christians, hope is a virtue. In the traditional language one says "Inshallah," that is, "if God so wills."

Now, the sense of hope exists and continues to exist, and we also believe that a better future can come about gradually.

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org  CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Iraq, Military, Catholic, Soldiers

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article

0 Comments

Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment


Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 1:17-19
'As for you, prepare yourself for action. Stand up and tell ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
In you, Yahweh, I take refuge, I shall never be put to shame. ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:17-29
Now it was this same Herod who had sent to have John arrested, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

August 29 Saint of the Day

St. Sabina
August 29: St. Sabina's feast day is August 29th. We know St. Sabina only ... Read More