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Cardinal Filoni: Proportional military action is needed in Iraq

2015-05-19

Cardinal Fernando Filoni has traveled twice to Iraq on behalf of Pope Francis to bring comfort to victims of the Islamic State.

The time to act has come, according to Cardinal Filoni. He said that words and good intentions are no longer enough to protect people in the Middle East.  

CARD. FERNANDO FILONI
Pope's Special Envoy to Iraq
"We need political action and proportional military action. This is not killing for killing. It should not be so ever, but defense mechanisms are needed.”

Cardinal Filoni was nuncio in Baghdad from 2001 to 2006. He knows the country well and understands that sectarianism is the root of tension. He asked that Christians be considered full citizens and not merely tolerated in their own country.

CARD. FERNANDO FILONI
Pope's Special Envoy to Iraq
"Everyone has told me, 'Christians are the original native population and have the right to be.' FLASH The law needs to say it. One of the big problems in Iraq is that individual rights are not based in law. Everything is interpreted according to the law of Islam. It is dangerous.”

During his two trips, the cardinal visited Christian refugees. He says step by step, their material needs are being met. But other intangible problems persist.

CARD. FERNANDO FILONI
Pope's Special Envoy to Iraq
"During my visit I was told, 'You are not going to solve our problems, but now we feel like we are not alone.'”

He said that in countries where Islam is the main religion, Muslims must promote peaceful coexistence and religious freedom.

CARD. FERNANDO FILONI
Pope's Special Envoy to Iraq
"If there is no historical criticism that questions what jihad means, should we understand the word to mean the use of the sword and violent conquest? Or should we define it as conversion? That is, should people have the right to spread the religion, but also have the right to reject it?”

Pope Francis has expressed on many occasions his desire to travel to Iraq. Cardinal Filoni says that such a visit would stoke the hope of persecuted Christians. However, the deteriorating security situation in the country makes a visit impossible for now.


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