CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters

Pope Francis appeals to Iraqi president to end crisis

By  Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service
  • August 21, 2014

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis wrote to the president of Iraq, calling for an end to the “brutal suffering of Christians and other religious minorities” and urging political leaders to end the humanitarian crisis in the country.

Francis said in his letter to Iraqi President Fouad Massoum: “I appeal to you with my heart full of pain while I follow the brutal suffering of Christians and other religious minorities who are forced to leave their homes, as their places of worship are destroyed.”

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Pope’s official envoy to Iraq, delivered the Pope’s message during his recent trip to that country. The two met at the Vatican Aug. 21. The Pope previously appealed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to intervene to end the crisis.

Earlier this week, Francis revealed during a media conference with reporters that he was ready to travel to Iraq to try to find a solution to the ongoing violence.

The Pope surprised many pundits when he endorsed military action to stop “unjust aggression” by Islamist militants and their attacks on religious minorities in Iraq.

“In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor,” Francis said. “I underscore the verb ‘stop.’ I’m not saying ‘bomb’ or ‘make war,’ just ‘stop.’ ”

It was the clearest endorsement for using military force by a pope in at least 100 years.

Filoni, a former papal nuncio to Iraq and Jordan from 2001 to 2006, heads the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples at the Vatican. He has spent the past few days in Irbil supporting Christian refugees and also met Iraqi leaders in Baghdad.

On Aug. 20, the Italian Parliament backed Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s move to send military aid to Iraqi Kurds fighting the fundamentalist Islamic State militia in the country’s north.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location
Type the text presented in the image below

Support The Catholic Register

Unlike many other news websites, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our site. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.