Pope Decries Iraqi Archbishops Death

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(13 Mar 08 – RV) Pope Benedict XVI has deplored the death of Iraqi Archbishop, Paulos Faraj Rahho, of Mosul.

The body of the Chaldean Catholic Leader, who was abducted 14 days ago, was found Thursday near the city, after his kidnappers informed mediators that the Archbishop was dead.

In a telegram sent to Chaldean Patriarch, Cardinal Emmanuel Delly III , the Pope deplored the inhuman act of violence underlining that it damaged the cause of fraternal coexistence between the beloved Iraqi people.

Pope Benedict assured his most fervent prayers in suffrage of this “zealous pastor who was abducted after celebrating the Way of the Cross”. He also invoked the Lord’s mercy so that this tragic event serves to build a future of peace in the martyred land of Iraq.

For nearly two weeks the Church in Iraq hoped that Archbishop Faraj Rahho would be found alive. On Thursday, these hopes were dashed. His body was found near the city of Mosul, his diocese.
He was taken on February 29th, after leading the stations of the cross. Three people with him were killed during the kidnapping.
The head of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, said that everyone had hoped and prayed for his freedom, including the Pope made an appeal for his release.
He said that the Pope was praying in solidarity with the people of Iraq, and particularly its small Christian community, at this time when unjustifiable violence continues to rage throughout the country.
He said that this tragic event reminds all of us, and in particular the international community, of the need to bring peace to this troubled land.
The Pope’s appeal had been joined by other Christian, as well as Muslim leaders in Iraq.
Archbishop Rahho had long been a voice of reconciliation in Iraq. The Church in Mosul was often targeted for attacks, but he said that the violence was a test of faith and because of it, Christians in the country had learned to put into practice values like forgiveness and love, even for those who persecute them.