Iraqis Keep a Wary Eye on Christians in Their Midst

Attack Would Bring Disaster to Country, Says Chaldean Prelate

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BAGHDAD, Iraq, SEPT. 24, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Threats of an attack against Iraq are complicating the lives of Christians, who are widely suspected of being close to the West and the United States, a Chaldean bishop warns.

“We are also very worried for all the Iraqi people,” Auxiliary Bishop Jshlemon Warduni of Baghdad said. “As a local Church, we must do everything possible so that this aggression will not happen, which would be a new humanitarian tragedy.”

“In our social commitment, we make no distinction among the beneficiaries, no matter what their religion or ethnic” background, Bishop Warduni added, in statements published today by the Italian newspaper Avvenire.

With reference to Saddam Hussein, the bishop explained that the Catholic Church and, in particular, the Chaldean Patriarchate is, “evangelically and, in keeping with John Paul II’s magisterium, against all war and aggression.”

“If we have to defend human rights, I ask: Whom do we have to defend?” the bishop said. “Are not our children the first victims of violence? Are not our elderly and sick, left without care and assistance, perhaps the same as yours?”

“In regard to armaments of mass destruction, the Iraqi government states that it does not have them,” he continued. “We don’t know if it is true, it is not within our competence to address this. Our obligation is to work for peace and the safeguarding of the rights of all men.”

Bishop Warduni concluded: “We have faith in God who will give us peace and we ask all Churches worldwide to pray with us so that the Lord will enlighten the leaders of nations to act in favor of justice.”

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ZENIT Staff

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