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Iraq’s Catholics ‘live the mystery of the sleep of Christ in the boat,’ says Patriarch

Catholic World News - July 03, 2014

The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church issued a statement on July 2 explaining the plight of Iraq’s Catholics.

Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako said that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) controls Mosul and most of western Iraq, while the Kurds control Kirkuk and the government does not control the major Sunni cities. In Mosul, ISIL forces kidnapped two Chaldean nuns as well as a 12-year-old boy and two orphans.

Referring to “a new exodus” from the “great Christian town of Karakosh” (also known as Bakhdida), the patriarch said that there are millions of refugees and that the nation is headed toward civil war, with the only apparent solution being the division of Iraq along “radicalized religious” lines. If the plan is the division of Iraq, the patriarch asked, why accomplish it through war, rather than “dialogue and agreement?”

Citing the fourth chapter of St. Mark’s Gospel, Patriarch Sako said that “we live the mystery of the sleep of Christ in the boat.” Amid the “alarming indifference” of the international community, “the waves rise and threaten.”

“However, we do not despair,” he added, as Iraq’s Catholics hasten “to awaken Christ” rather than rely on politicians, who are “concerned about their own interests, especially oil.”

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