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Papal Envoy shares what he saw in Iraq, with Pope Francis

2014-08-21

Cardinal Fernando Filoni personally saw what minorities are facing under the persecution of the Islamic State. Now back in Rome, the Pope's personal envoy shared what he saw and what can be done to help. 

CARDINAL FERNANDO FILONI
Papal Envoy to Iraq
"They told me what they felt in their hearts and I shared those accounts with Pope Francis. I was able to see what they saw, from the challenges to the suffering.” 

As the Pope's personal envoy to Iraq, Filoni says the Pope didn't want his visit to be a diplomatic mission, but rather a humanitarian and spiritual one. 

He heard different accounts of those who were forced out of their homes from one day to the next. Christians and other minorities shared the threats they faced at the hands of Islamic Militants

CARDINAL FERNANDO FILONI
Papal Envoy to Iraq
"They told us, you can either convert or die. Those who fled started a long painful journey, but many were killed.” 

Amid all the tragedy and pain, there are also accounts of local churches opening their doors and people helping out with logistics in the refugee camps. 

CARDINAL FERNANDO FILONI
Papal Envoy to Iraq
"In those type of temperatures, there were no bathrooms or showers, but right away architects came up with a solution. Then you suddenly have thousands of people, all of which need to cook and eat. There are babies, elderly people, adults, men and women.” 

Filoni's main mission was to express the Pope's concern and his closeness with the persecuted minorities. Also to ask the international community for concrete action, including assistance for the thousands of displaced and the right to go back to their villages and homes without the risk of being attacked. 


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