Iraqi Cardinal calls for prayer and fasting

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Cardinal Sako asks all Chaldean Catholics to fast and pray for peace as Iraq undergoes new protests and violence. By Fr John Waters The Head of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq has called for 3 days of fasting and prayer for peace in the country. Cardinal Louis Raphael I Sako, the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, has invited “all sons and daughters of the Chaldean church to fast and pray from 11 to 13 November. The cardinal’s plea used strong imagery of “weapons of fasting and prayer to call for an end to the chaos and violence that are bloodying the country.” Thousands of Iraqis have been protesting the government since November 1st. Their demands include more jobs, better public services and an end to political corruption. So far, at least 320 people have been killed as a result of clashes between protesters and security forces. The Cardinal has also addressed the Iraqi government in his appeal for peace, asking that both they and the protesters exercise “wisdom and understanding in giving priority to the general interest of the entire Iraqi people.” He goes on to lament the damage done to both private and public goods, as well as the shedding of innocent blood. Both the White House and the UN Mission to Iraq have released statements in support of the protesters. They also each called on the Iraqi government to deliver on its promise of electoral reform. The Chaldean Catholic Church traces its origins back to the 1st century and the Church of the East, which was founded by the Apostle St Thomas. A series of theological developments led to the Chaldeans formally joining the Catholic Church in 1552. Cardinal Louis Raphael I Sako has been patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans since 2013 and was made a Cardinal by Pope Francis in 2018.