Pope calls for national reconciliation effort for Iraq
The bishops from the Chaldean Church have been holding their synod this week in Rome. As part of this meeting, they gathered in the Vatican with Pope Francis.
The Chaldean Patriarch, Luis Rafael Sako, expressed to the pope the concern the Chaldean Church has over the convulsive situation in the Middle East.
"In the hope that everything will be resolved with dialogue and with respect for the rights of everyone, not with war."
Pope Francis invited the bishops to be builders of unity, especially in Iraq, so that those who had to flee when they were threatened by jihadists, may return home.
"There is a need for a process of national reconciliation and a joint effort of all members of society to find a common solution for the good of the whole country."
The pope praised the tenacity and courage of these pastors who continued to maintain hope and suffered alongside the people, even through the invasion of the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
He also asked them to continue working as before, both with those who stayed and those who have left the region, with the goal to be a community even with the distance.
The Chaldean Church is in communion with Rome and has about 550,000 members. They are spread throughout Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey, and Egypt. There is also an important diaspora in countries like France and the United States.