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The courage of witnessing

· A conversation with the Iraqi Archbishop of Kerkūk for Chaldeans on the Pope's Visit to Lebanon ·

“I firmly believe: this document and the message it contains will be of very great help to the Church in Iraq. It will help her understand what she urgently needs to do to give empower Christians and thereby help them regain the courage to bear witness”. When last Sunday, 16 September, Archbishop Louis Sako of Kerkūk for Chaldeans  received from the Pope's hands in Beirut a copy of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente – he was representing the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Iraq – he clasped it to his heart and  held it tightly, while he exchanged a few words with Benedict XVI. “It was a spontaneous gesture”, he said in the interview granted to our newspaper. “because I believe in this Document”.

What were your feelings on receiving the gift of the Apostolic Exhortation from the Pope's hands?

I felt a very strong emotion. And thanking him, I express my certainty that with this Document our Church was entering a new spring.

And how did the Pope answer you?

He told me that this was what he himself hoped. Above all for the good of the Church in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. .

How will this Document be able to help the Church in Iraq?

Since it was received by all the faithful indistinctly, I believe it may prove fundamental. We will meditate deeply on it in our communities.

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