Louis Raphael I Sako, the Chaldean Catholic patriarch, appealed to Catholics and other Christians in Iraq to revive all their energies to rebuild the Christian communities in Iraq. Sako will soon be appointed cardinal. In a letter to bishops, priests and monks he said Churches should work “to guarantee Christians’ rights and equality, safeguard their life, protect their heritage, land, language, faith and their traditions”. He said it is not acceptable that Christians are treated as if they are second-class citizens.

The population of Christians in Iraq is estimated to be less than half the 1.5 million Christians that lived in the country before the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Before Iraq’s parliamentary elections on May 12 Sako affirmed that “the Church has the right to intervene in the political arena.” 

Religious dialogue to combat terrorism

At their ad limina visit, 21 bishops from Burkina Faso and Niger told Pope Francis it was important that Christians and Muslims dialogue to combat terrorism in their countries.

Archbishop Paul Yemboaro Ouédraogo of Bobo-Dioulasso, president of the Episcopal Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger, said that terrorism cannot be beaten without peaceful relations with the Muslim 60 per cent of the population.

Bishop Laurent Birfuore Dabiré of Dori shared the same opinion during an interview with Radio Vaticana.

Imam Boureima Drabo agreed that “it is our responsibility to live together and it is up to us to learn how to do so”.

A first for the bishops of French

In a first for the Bishops Conference of France, its permanent council has chosen a woman, Christine Naline, to replace outgoing deputy secretary general, Fr Gérard Le Stang. Naline, 60, has four children and eight grandchildren. She occupied positions in the dioceses of Lille and Nanterre and was responsible for the formation of catechists.

MBE for work to end slavery

Sr Imelda Poole, a British religious sister, has been made Member of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her achievements and services to end modern slavery. She leads the network of European religious fighting trafficking and exploitation (RENATE). In a blog post for Global Sisters Report, Sr Imelda said she saw her work with the margina­lised neglected peoples of the world as part of God’s mission.

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)


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