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Papal envoy: all should be concerned with Iraqi Christian refugees

August 21, 2014

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, who traveled to Iraq last week as the personal representative of Pope Francis, said that the persecution of Christians and Yezidis by the Islamic State should be an urgent concern for “all men and women who care about humanity.”

Cardinal Filoni—the former apostolic nuncio in Iraq, who is now prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization—spoke with Vatican Radio after briefing Pope Francis about his trip. He reported that he had had a “very friendly” meeting with Iraq’s President Fuad Masum, during which he delivered a personal message from the Pope.

In that message, the Pope told the Iraqi leader: “I address you with a heart full of pain as I follow the brutal suffering of Christians and other religious minorities, who are forced to leave their homes while their places of worship are destroyed.” He urged that “all means by used to solve the humanitarian crisis”posed by the plight of Christian refugees.

Cardinal Filoni told Vatican Radio that the Christian refugees with whom he met were hoping that they could return to their native villages, but wanted international support to ensure that they could do so safely.


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