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Cardinal sent to war-torn Iraq to meet with displaced Christians

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/11/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Cardinal Fernando Filoni served as nuncio to Iraq from 2001 to 2006

In response to the widespread slaughter of Christians in Iraq by Islamic State, Cardinal Fernando Filoni has been requested by Pope Francis to travel to the region to meet church and government officials. Tantamount to the visit will be the cardinal's meeting with Christians who have been chased from their homes by militants.

Speaking to Vatican Radio, Cardinal Filoni said that his assignment was 'a gesture that shows the pope's concern for the situation of these Christians who are suffering.'

Speaking to Vatican Radio, Cardinal Filoni said that his assignment was "a gesture that shows the pope's concern for the situation of these Christians who are suffering."

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
8/11/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Iraq, Islamic State, Pope Francis


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis chose Cardinal Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, for his experience in the region as nuncio to Iraq in 2001-2006.

The cardinal "was the only diplomat to remain in Iraq" when the U.S.-led coalition invaded in 2003, which demonstrates his "dedication and notable courage," Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said.

SAVE Iraqi Christians from Genocide --

Father Lombardi said it was "too soon to say when he will leave and exactly where he will go." Cardinal Filoni will not be joining Pope Francis for his visit to South Korea from 14 - 18 August.

Organizing the trip would take some work "because it is not easy to reach." Cardinal Filoni said he

Organizing the trip would take some work "because it is not easy to reach." Cardinal Filoni said he was not frightened of making the trip and was confident the logistics would come together so "I can see how I can be close to these people for a time."


Father Lombardi says that Cardinal Filoni "will try to meet the people most affected" by the early August advance of Islamic State fighters through the predominantly Christian villages of Nineveh province in northeast Iraq. Jihadists reportedly forced tens of thousands of Christians from their homes overnight from August 6 and 7.

Many of the displaced, along with many who were forced from Mosul in late July, have sought refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan, which is where Cardinal Filoni intends to go.

Cardinal Filoni will also be taking a financial donation from Pope Francis to help the displaced.

Speaking to Vatican Radio, Cardinal Filoni said that his assignment was "a gesture that shows the pope's concern for the situation of these Christians who are suffering."

Organizing the trip would take some work "because it is not easy to reach." Cardinal Filoni said he was not frightened of making the trip and was confident the logistics would come together so "I can see how I can be close to these people for a time."

Very mindful that Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad declared that the Christians were facing "a human catastrophe and risk a real genocide," Cardinal Filoni added that "Patriarch Sako is there and so he knows very well" what is happening.

Pope Francis later that day sent a request through his @Pontifex Twitter account: "I ask all men and women of good will to join me in praying for Iraqi Christians and all vulnerable populations."

The Pope has also asked the nuncios to all the countries in the region to speak with their host governments about the plea for peace he made August 7 and to ask local Catholics to pray for their neighbors.

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