Iraqi bishops to Christians: we need your commitment to rebuild the country

by Joseph Mahmoud
The bishops ask political leaders for greater security and defense of the rights of all sections of Iraqi society. The appeal to stop the exodus of Christians from the country. The call to pray for the Christians of Syria. The annual meeting of the bishops was held November 6 to 7 in Ankawa (Kurdistan). Among the topics: the application of Ecclesia in Medio Oriente, the ideas of the Synod for the New Evangelization and the Year of Faith.

Ankawa (AsiaNews) – The Catholic bishops of Iraq met November 6 to 7 in their annual meeting in Ankawa (Erbil, Kurdistan). Over two days, the bishops discussed various pastoral issues related to their churches in the light of the situation experienced by Christians in the country and in the rest of the Middle Eastern region. In the meeting, the bishops discussed the application of the Apostolic Exhortation ” Ecclesia in Medio Oriente “, the themes of the Synod for the New Evangelization and the Year of Faith launched by Pope Benedict XVI last October 11. At the conclusion of the meeting the Iraqi prelates have issued the following statement. AsiaNews publishes the text sent by Msgr. Louis Sako, Archbishop of Kirkuk and Secretary General of the Assembly.

1 – The Catholic Bishops assembly calls on all political parties to sit down together, away from the personal and confessional interests, to negotiate through a courageous and sincere dialogue in order to find solutions that respect the rights of all components and enforce the harmonic co-existence and preserve diversity and pluralism that is a feature of our country, certainly living e together is human completion and a cultural spiritual, social fruitful interaction. This requires a good political, free and renewable will. It requires also that the religion should remains far away from the political conflictions. Bombings, killings and destruction when it is in the name of religion, it offend God and deform religion.

2 – It is sad to see that immigration is continuing which makes our Christian existence more vulnerable and threatens it is future. The Catholic Bishops assembly calls upon all Christians to be attached to their homeland and to participate in its construction as their fathers. The continuous involvement and perseverance at home Communication, is a national and Christian. The Apostolic Exhortation ” Ecclesia in Medio Oriente ” invites the children of Abraham:”Rather than being exploited in endless conflicts which are unjustifiable for authentic believers, the acknowledgment of one God – if lived with a pure heart – can make a powerful contribution to peace in the region and to respectful coexistence on the part of its peoples. ” (No 19). Therefore The Catholic Bishops hopes that living together continues in a more secure just and human dignity conditions which may limit immigration and encourage immigrants to return to their homes. The Catholic

Bishops assembly calls on the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to assume full responsibility for providing security and stability and decent living for all components.

3 – Today the Catholic Bishops assembly is concerned on Syrian sisters and brother’s situation. The bishops express their solidarity and prayer and hope that the requested reforms will be done through a safe way, through a constructive dialogue and negotiations and not with fighting and demolition. The civilized dialogue is a human and religious basic manner to resolve problems. We pray for the soon return of stability to our neighboring Syria.

4 – At the conclusion the Catholic Bishops assembly calls on the faithful to stick to faith, hope and to pray for the return of peace and stability to the country so that everyone can live in freedom, dignity and joy.