Nineteen Chaldean bishops met with Pope Francis and several dicasteries during their ad limina visit to the Vatican last week. They frankly shared their concerns over the crisis in the Arab-Muslim world, Patriarch Louis-Raphael Sako told “La Croix.”
Anne-Bénédicte Hoffner for "La Croix" interviewed Patriarch Louis-Raphael Sako. The interview follows:
La Croix: Pope Francis held an audience with 19 of your bishops on Feb. 5. It is now just over six months after the fall of Mosul, where the roots of your church are based. What did you tell him?
Patriarch Louis-Raphael Sako: The first thing we said is that Middle Eastern Christians need more support than ever from their Western brothers amid the tragic situation that they are experiencing as a result of ISIS and the violence that has ravaged the region.
We would like Rome to say more about us and show greater support during this difficult period when so many of our faithful have been hunted from their homes and are still living as displaced people in camps in the middle of their own country or as refugees elsewhere.
We also suggested to Francis that there could be a common declaration on the status of Jerusalem that he would sign together with the Eastern Patriarchs.
Muslims would be very appreciative if he became involved on this issue in the wake of the announcement by the United States that it will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The pope invited us to speak freely and we did so. He listened to us for an hour and a half.
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