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Pope names, meets with special personal envoy to Iraq

Catholic World News - August 11, 2014

Pope Francis has named Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, as his personal envoy to Iraq and its persecuted Christian population.

Cardinal Filoni, who served as apostolic nuncio to Iraq from 2001 to 2006, was one of the few diplomats who remained in Baghdad during the American bombing of the city at the beginning of the Iraq War.

In announcing the appointment on August 8, the Holy See Press Office stated the Pope Francis was expressing his spiritual closeness to those who are suffering in Iraq and that the cardinal would convey the Church’s solidarity.

On the evening of August 10, Pope Francis met with Cardinal Filoni in Domus Sanctae Marthae. The Pope gave the cardinal directions for his mission and entrusted him with funds to assist the persecuted Christians. The cardinal is scheduled to depart on August 11.

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See Press Office, also said nuncios in the Middle East would likely meet in Rome in September to discuss additional initiatives to help Iraq’s beleaguered Christians.

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