Pope’s visit to aid peace

Hopeful: Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk (Iraq) is optimistic about the benefits that will flow from Pope Benedict XVI’s recent visit to Lebanon Photo: ACN News
LEBANON (ACN News): The Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Kirkuk (Iraq), Louis Sako, sees the recent papal visit to Lebanon as positive.

In a meeting with the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) in Beirut on September 16, he expressed his conviction that the visit would lead many Muslims to a rethink in view of the peacefulness and openness to dialogue displayed by Pope Benedict XVI and the assembled Christians.

“The culture of peace that was thus expressed is helpful to all of us in the Middle East, both Christians and Muslims,” Archbishop Sako said.

He said he had already received positive reactions from Islamic friends in Iraq who were impressed by the peaceable assembly of hundreds of thousands of Christians on television during the Pope’s September 14-16 visit.

“The Pope’s smile was a message in itself,” he said.

“It is now up to each of us to put into practice in our own countries what the Pope said here in Beirut.”

Archbishop Sako expressed hope that the apostolic letter Ecclesia in medio oriente which the Pope published would contribute to strengthening togetherness among the Oriental Churches.

Co-operation with both the non-Catholic and the Catholic churches of other countries in the region must be extended.

To implement the papal letter, Archbishop Sako said, it was also important to deepen the dialogue with the Muslims, also in theological terms.