Pope Francis says all Iraqis must work for unity
Pope Francis told Chaldean Catholic Church leaders at their annual synod that in view of the new apprehensions arising from increasing political instability, they must work urgently to promote unity at all levels of society. He stressed that unity “is necessary now more than ever in the current Iraqi context, faced with new uncertainties about the future.”
“There is a need for a process of national reconciliation and of a joint effort of all the components of society, to reach shared solutions for the good of the whole country,” said the Pope. He expressed his hope that the “strength of spirit, hope and industriousness” characteristic of Iraqi society would never diminish.”
The Pope said that leaders of the Chaldean Catholic Church and other Catholic rites in the region should work together in “promoting dialogue and collaboration among all the actors of public life”, helping to facilitate the return of displaced persons and healing divisions,
“If in fact, a tragic page has closed in some regions of your country, it means that there is still much to be done, ” said Francis. He urged Church leaders to “remain firm” in their intention of “not falling into discouragement before the difficulties that still remain despite what has been done in the reconstruction work on the Nineveh Plain.”
Evangelized by St. Thomas the Apostle, Iraq’s roots were a land of “civilization, encounter and dialogue.” Therefore, the Pope declared, it was especially important that Christians in the region are united in promoting “respectful relations and interreligious dialogue through all components of society.”
Pope Francis urged Chaldean Church leaders to work together with the Latin Church to address the diaspora of their faithful throughout the world. He said special attention must be paid to the pastoral care of the faithful in the regions where ancient eastern communities “have long been established,” while also promoting “communion and fraternity with the Latin rite communities in order to give the faithful a good witness without spreading divisions and disagreements.” He said the Congregation for Oriental Churches will help in this task.
The Pope concluded by praying that the Chaldean Synod gathering would be “a fruitful moment of fraternal dialogue and reflection for the good of the beloved Chaldean Church.”