Pope Francis to send cardinal to Iraq

Vatican City, Aug 8 (IANS/EFE): Pope Francis will send Cardinal Fernando Filoni to northern Iraq to express his proximity and solidarity with the people, especially Christians, who are enduring attacks from Sunni jihadis, the Vatican press office said Friday.

The former nuncio to Iraq and current prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples is set to arrive in Iraqi Kurdistan within the next few days, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

More than 120,000 Christians have fled to Kurdistan from their homes in the northern Iraqi towns of Qaraqosh and Telkif, which have fallen under the control of militants of the Islamic State (IS) Sunni extremist group.

Lombardi said it was too early to know whether the pontiff's envoy will visit those areas.

The IS has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria to create an Islamic caliphate and has warned Christians they should convert to Islam or leave.

The Vatican press office Thursday said the Pope had received with "concern" the "dramatic news coming from northern Iraq, where the most affected are Christian communities which must leave their villages because of the violence in the region".

In a statement, Francis urged the international community to put an end to this "humanitarian crisis and protect those threatened by violence".

"I ask all men and women of goodwill to join me in praying for Iraqi Christians and all vulnerable populations," Pope Francis posted Friday on his official Twitter account.


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Comment on this article

  • ron nussbeck, usa

    Sat, Aug 09 2014

    Pope Francis must not rely on Barack Obama to defend fleeing Christians from ISIS. Obama will only give token help as his loyalties lie with Islam. If not for pressure from world leaders like Pope Francis Obama would have let the Genocide of 50,000 Christians take place. Obama has allowed 180,000 Christians be murdered in Syria never once stopping the murderous ISIS rampage. Obama is and remains a sleeper cell who has the Muslim Brotherhood working in the White House aiding his deception. Only the blind can not see his true intentions, all others see clearly he is the most antichristian President to ever hold office.

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