(Catholic Herald UK) Pope Francisâ€™s personal envoy to the suffering people of Iraq joined the Chaldean Catholic patriarch in launching an appeal to the international community today, pleading for help to liberate villages controlled by the Islamic State terrorists and to provide the displaced with international protection.
Cardinal Fernando Filoni, who has been in Iraq since August 13 at the Popeâ€™s request, and Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad said international action was necessary to provide the displaced with basic necessities like food and water, but also to guarantee the possibility of their survival in Iraq.
In their appeal, the cardinal and patriarch asked nations to â€œtake their moral responsibility seriouslyâ€ by helping to liberate villages in north-eastern Iraq captured by the Islamic State militants.
The Christians, Yezidis and other minorities forced out of their villages because they would not convert to the militantsâ€™ idea of Islam just want to return to their homes and live in peace, the cardinal and patriarch said. â€œThe hope of these people must not be allowed to die!â€
During his Mass for peace and reconciliation in Seoul, Pope Francis offered prayers for Cardinal Filoni and for Iraq. The cardinal, the Pope told the congregation, â€œwas supposed to be with us hereâ€, but instead had been sent â€œto the suffering people of Iraq, to help the persecuted and displaced, and all religious minorities who are suffering in that land. May the Lord be with him in his mission.â€
Cardinal Filoni has been talking about his trip with Vatican Radio each day. He spent last Friday with displaced Christians in a camp in Duhok and meeting Yezidi community leaders. [more]