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Chaldean synod prays for peace, urges priests to return

September 30, 2016

The bishops of the Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, have concluded a six-day synod in Erbil, Iraq.

The prelates prayed for the liberation of lands conquered by the Islamic State and for peace in Syria and Iraq. They also agreed that priests and religious who left their dioceses without permission from their superiors had to return.

The synod said that the many priests who fled from Iraq and Syria without permission from their bishops have been "raising doubts among the faithful." The final statement from the Chaldean bishops exhorted those priests to "leave their current dioceses immediately" and regularize their status with their diocesan bishops.

The Chaldean Church has been troubled by conflicts between Chaldean communities abroad, which have welcomed priests along with other refugees from the war-torn Middle East, and bishops in Iraq and Syria, who are fighting to maintain an active Christian presence there. The conflicts have provoked tensions particularly in the large Chaldean community in southern California, where one priest, Father Noel Gorgis, has been ordered to leave a local parish.

The bishops also agreed to “changes into the text of the Chaldean Mass, recently prepared and suggested by the new Patriarchate Liturgical Committee based on scripts of 2006 and 2014,” according to the patriarchate. These changes await the approval of the Holy See.

 
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