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US prelate: Americans must help reverse tide of Catholic emigration from Iraq

Catholic World News - March 15, 2013

Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said that Americans must stem the tide of Catholic emigration from Iraq.

Accompanied by Syrian Catholic Bishop Yousif Habash, Bishop Pates represented the USCCB at the recent enthronement of Louis Raphaël I Sako as the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon.

“With the Chaldean Church struggling to retain members in Iraq, Patriarch Sako's leadership is providential,” said Bishop Pates. “He is a man of dialogue and friendship and will work diligently to establish beneficial relationships with those of the Muslim tradition and other religions, as well as governmental and civic communities in Iraq.”

“It is estimated that nearly one-half or 350,000 individuals from the Chaldean Church have emigrated from Iraq since the invasion and occupation of the country by American military forces beginning in 2003,” Bishop Pates continued. “It is surely incumbent upon us as Americans to assist the Chaldean Church in reversing this trend. Especially is this so because this is a land that was the beneficiary of apostolic evangelization attributed to St. Thomas the Apostle.”

“The Iraqi government provided tight security for me and Bishop Habash, and demonstrated commitment to protect minority religions and their practice of worship as evident by the presence of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Speaker of the Council of Representatives, Osama al-Nujaifi, at the installation ceremony of the new Patriarch,” Bishop Pates added.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Mar. 15, 2013 10:04 PM ET USA

    When Pres. George W. Bush said that Iraq was better off today than it was under Saddam Hussein, I could have choked. Better off for who? Certainly not for the Christians!

  • Posted by: Defender - Mar. 15, 2013 6:46 PM ET USA

    If the Chaldeans had no religious affiliation, they would have a better chance of getting and staying here under this administration. Church leaders need to realize that Islam is everywhere (Syria, Egypt, Libya, et al) and, despite their wishful thinking, they are not interested in ecumenism.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Mar. 15, 2013 12:47 PM ET USA

    Let me see if I get this straight: we are supposed to welcome the illegal alien who came here to get a better job (at best) and send back the Chaldean from Iraq who is trying to keep from being killed. Go figure.

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