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Cardinal Filoni as Francis' Special Envoy to Iraq

The situation in Iraq is becoming increasingly dire. And to express his spiritual closeness to the people suffering and to bring them the solidarity of the Church, Pope Francis appointed, on Friday, 8 August, Cardinal Ferdinando Filoni as his Special Envoy.

The preceding day, U.S. President Barrack Obama had given the go-ahead for air raids against militants of the Islamic State. The White House also announced the authorization for humanitarian aid – food and medicine – to be airdropped to people fleeing the jihadists. Among the reasons for the decision, Obama said, were to strike at Islamic terrorists, “to protect American personnel” in Iraq and to “prevent a potential act of genocide”. In the face of what is happening in the country where minorities, especially Christians, are subjected to systematic persecution, the American President said it was not possible to “turn a blind eye”. Therefore, the military has been authorized take action with “targeted airstrikes if necessary”.

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, President of the Italian Bishops' Conference, on Thursday spoke on the tragic situation of Iraqi Christians, indicating: “The first thing we will do is to manifest our full readiness to welcome those persecuted who may leave the country. Italian dioceses are always available to welcome immigrants”. The Cardinal specified that efforts will continue to be more urgent and essential for “the many brothers brutally persecuted for their faith”.

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St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 13, 2018

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