Iraq is a nation where Christians are tortured brutally. Many Christians have fled their native lands and have lost hope. Mosul is devastated under the severe attack of the Islamic State terrorists. In this juncture, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, sincerely hope that Pope Francis will visit Iraq soon.
“It is Pope Francis’ intention to go to Iraq and I believe, without a doubt, he will do so, although I cannot foresee the opportune moment now because everyone understands that this is still a very problematic time for the country,” the Cardinal said. Of late, he has published his book ‘The Church in Iraq,’ in which he expresses his views on the conditions of the Church in Iraq.
Cardinal Filoni had stayed in Iraq from 2001 to 2006 as Apostolic Nuncio. That was the time during second Gulf War with heavy bombings ravaging the country. “I must say that both in the first as well as the second Gulf War, the Nuncios stayed at their post and this gave enormous credibility to the role of the Church. The Iraqi people saw that the Catholic community, despite its being small and a minority, did not show contradictory behavior with a West that could be defined as Christian and a Middle East that instead is Muslim” the Cardinal said.
During the tough times, it was the Catholic Church who was in the forefront to bring aid to the people affected by the War. “We made all the churches available, as well as the Seminaries, which were open in the evening and the people came with mattresses and spent the night because of the fear of bombings,” he said.