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New Chaldean Patriarch addresses challenges facing Christians in Iraq

Catholic World News - February 06, 2013

In an interview with the AsiaNews service, the newly elected Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church said that it would be difficult to establish a secular government in a Muslim country today, “because they have a negative and pejorative concept of the secular state.”

Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako said that he remained hopeful that the ancient Chaldean Church could be a “bridge” between Christians and Muslims in Iraq. He reported that during a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, he had spoken at length about the challenges of inter-religious relations in the war-torn country.

Questioned about the continued exodus of Christians from Iraq, the Patriarch said that the problem is “critical” but promised to work to maintain a lively Christian presence.

However, the Chaldean Patriarch said that his top priority would be to address the “state of chaos” in the Chaldean liturgy. He reported that liturgical celebrations differ from diocese to diocese and even parish to parish, and said that a reform and revival of the liturgy would be his primary goal.

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