Pope’s special envoy returns from Iraq, testifies to ‘extraordinary faith’ of nation’s Christians
August 22, 2014
Calling upon the Church to express solidarity for Iraq’s persecuted Christians, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Pope Francis’s special envoy to the Middle Eastern nation, has returned to Rome and has confided his assessment of the situation to the Holy Father.
The prelate, who once served as apostolic nuncio to Iraq and is now prefect for the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, told L’Osservatore Romano that the Christians he met are “rich in faith [and] tradition” and have “extraordinary love for the Pope and their bishops.”
They have manifested “extraordinary faith,” he emphasized, in preferring to leave their homes rather than renounce their beliefs or accept “small compromises … with jihadists.”
Cardinal Filoni said that the presidents of Iraq and the autonomous region of Kurdistan both expressed their desire to assist the persecuted Christians. In addition to visiting with Christian refugees, Cardinal Filoni was able to meet with members of the persecuted Yazidi community.