By Lisa Zengarini– vaticannews (via AINA) –
The Patriarch of Baghdad of the Chaldeans, Cardinal Raphael Louis Sako, has warned that Christians in Iraq and in the entire region are heading towards disappearance unless there is a “change” in the way of thinking in governmental, social and economic policies.
He made these remarks at the opening of the Synod of the Chaldean Church taking place in the Iraqi capital from 21-27 August.
“Iraqi Christians, and perhaps also Christians of other nations, will soon disappear if there is no change in thinking and of the state system.”
In his introductory address, the head of the Chaldean Church noted that the Islamic heritage In Iraq still “makes Christians second-class citizens and allows the usurpation of their property”.
He therefore reiterated the urgent need to change the present Constitution and law in order to “build a democratic system based on citizenship”, and not on religious and ethnic affiliation.
“In these difficult times, our mission is to collaborate with our fellow citizens to create an environment conducive to the respect of diversity and the right to full citizenship, as Pope Francis said during his visit to our country from 5-8 May 2021, helping our people to open up to hope and arming their faith and solidarity, so they can address the present challenges with the same courage Christ had.”
Appeal for reforms
The same call for reforms was addressed on the opening day of the Synod by the body of the Chaldean bishops.
In a joint appeal, the prelates urged Iraqi political leaders to put aside personal and partisan interests so as to speed up the formation of a new government addressing the widespread corruption and the ongoing economic crisis in the country.
Politicians in Iraq have been deadlocked over forming a new government since the elections in October last year. In recent weeks, the standoff has caused renewed unrest and is already taking a toll on the most vulnerable in the context of ongoing international tensions.
Authority in the Church and ecclesial responibility
In his opening speech at the Synod, Cardinal Sako also addressed other issues which are being discussed during the meeting, including ecclesial responsibilitity and authority in the Church, priestly and religious vocations and liturgy.