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Cardinal Filoni: “Will there be a better future for Iraq and its people?”


"The Church in Iraq: its history, development and mission from its origin to the present day.” That’s the title of the latest book by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, in which he asks this question.

Prefect, Propaganda Fide
"Will there be a better future for this country and its people?”

It’s a phrase at the conclusion of the book, and one which is currently an open question, that regarding the fate of one of the oldest Christian communities in the world today, decimated by the continuing violence.

Prefect, Propaganda Fide
"Peace is at the heart of the entire question. If there were peace, these people would not be leaving. Wars and violence have forced the people to seek refuge and respect for human rights they do not have in their country.”

Cardinal Filoni was nuncio in Baghdad during the US invasion of 2003. He refused to leave the country even as the bombs rained down from the skies continuously. He says that, strangely, the international community is both the cause and solution of the problem in the Middle East.

Prefect, Propaganda Fide
"Who should pursue peace? It can not be one person, one group, one government. It should be everyone's job.”

He maintains frequent contact with the Iraqi Church and has visited the country twice since the arrival of Islamic State and the forced exodus of thousands of Christians. The refugees have everything they need materially but they are faced with a worsening reality.

Prefect, Propaganda Fide
"We are talking about thousands of people living in precarious conditions. It is not like in the first moments of the crisis when they fled but it is even more precarious in terms of the near future.”

He says that without a doubt he would return to Iraq if the Pope ask him to do so. He says that Pope Francis himself wants to personally offer the persecuted Christians there his comfort and support.

Prefect, Propaganda Fide
"Pope Francis has promised this but he has not said when this will take place. Hopefully one day it can happen. But with the present reality of war, that day seems to be far off.”