Interview: The Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Louis Raphael I Sako, is renewing his appeal that governments come up with solutions so that suffering families of the Middle East can return to their homes and no longer feel forgotten by the world.
The archbishop of Baghdad was interviewed by ZENIT on the sidelines of a conference Tuesday titled, “Persecuted and Forgotten. Report on Christians Oppressed for Their Faith 2013-2015,” in the headquarters of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher in the Vatican. It was sponsored by Aid to the Church in Need.
The Patriarch spoke on the situation facing his people, especially the Christian communities who have been forced to flee from their homes as ISIS has ravaged their homelands. In this land where Christianity was born, he lamented how his people are displaced, feeling forgotten and have basic needs which go unmet.
ZENIT: Could you share about how your people are doing and what they need?
Patriarch Sako: The help they need today is housing, schools, food, because they are out of their houses, but they are also expecting a solution to release their houses, to their homes, to allow them to go back to their homes.
ZENIT: What do you recommend for how your people can keep a decent morale and spirit at such a difficult time?
Patriarch Sako: They need some signs of hope from their sisters and brothers in the West, just to feel that they are not isolated or forgotten. This is very important.
ZENIT: Do you feel this sensitivity from your fellow bishops during the synod?
Patriarch Sako: I do. I launched an appeal to them. I pleaded for them to do something for these people and to push their governments for solutions. I am appealing for the release of the villages. This is the priority.
ZENIT: What do you hope is the biggest takeaway from the conference centered on the persecuted and forgotten?
Patriarch Sako: I think solidarity is very important. We belong to the same mankind. We are all brothers and sisters. There are differences, but those are not important. Deeply, we belong to the same society, so what we really need is solidarity. Nevertheless, no matter who we are, where we are, we are all part of the same mankind.
ZENIT: Could you speak about the Synod of Bishops on the family taking place in the Vatican and specifically on what you believe to be the biggest issue facing the family?
Patriarch Sako: Well, the Church is a mother, so we have to live the mercifulness of God, in the way of Jesus Christ. We are searching out our people. We are not eliminating them because they are failures, but to listen to them and to help them toward finding solutions and to understand them.