Pope Francis has assured Iraqi Catholics of the “complete support and solidarity” of the Vatican as they face the violence of the Islamic State and the steady drain of emigration.

Speaking to the members of the Chaldean Catholic Synod, the Pope acknowledged that the Church in Iraq has suffered “a great hemorrhage of faithful who leave the lands of their fathers.” That exodus, he said, is caused by the threat of violence and the lack of security for Christians in Iraq.

The Pope observed that “this of affairs clearly undermines the vital Christian presence in that land which witnessed the beginning of the journey of the Patriarch Abraham, heard the voice of the prophets who called Israel to hope during the exile, and saw the foundation of the first churches upon the blood of many martyrs.”

Pope Francis encouraged the Chaldean bishops to “work tirelessly as builders of unity in all the provinces of Iraq,” to support their clergy, and to serve the faithful as they struggle to maintain the historic Christian presence.

Source: CatholicCulture.org

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