Pope Francis briefed by envoy about deteriorating situation in Iraq
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/25/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Back from a fact-finding mission on the deteriorating and ever worsening situation in Iraq, Cardinal Fernando Filoni said that Pope Francis "was really taken" by his description of Christians and other minorities who have been forced from their homes in north-western Iraq by the Islamic State terrorist group.
Cardinal Filoni spoke to the Pope last week. The cardinal had just arrived at the Vatican following a visit to Iraq on August 13-20 as Francis' envoy to besieged minorities there.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Cardinal Filoni spoke to the Pope last week. The cardinal had just arrived at the Vatican following a visit to Iraq on August 13-20 as Francis' envoy to besieged minorities there.
"He was very attentive," the cardinal said, and Pope Francis "let me speak at length. He took to heart all the situations I spoke about: the expectations of our Christians and their worries, as well as the approach taken by the local churches."
A former Vatican nuncio to Iraq and current prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Filoni spoke to Vatican Radio after his meeting with Pope Francis.
Filoni said he was able to meet with the displaced on the lawns of churches, inside church buildings and schools, and in the camps where they have received initial assistance.
"You have to realize that this is the warmest period of the year," Filoni said. In the Middle East, this is the time when temperatures regularly exceed 110 degrees, and so shade and water are extremely important.
Once the immediate needs are met, he said, "everyone asks: How long will this go on? What awaits them?
"The most vivid images that will stay with me are of those people who have lost everything," yet count themselves lucky if no one in their immediate family was killed by the Islamic State forces, Cardinal Filoni said.
Members of the minority Yazidi religious community were not so fortunate, he said. "This was agonizing. Their faces were blank." They had seen many of the men in their villages murdered and many of the women "kidnapped, raped and sold."
Cardinal Filoni told Vatican Radio his hope "is the hope of these people" - that they can return home with some form of internationally guaranteed "security cordon" around their villages.
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