Chaldean Church Hopes to Mediate Release of Hostages in Iraq

ROME, APRIL 21, 2004 ( The Chaldean Church is trying to mediate in the release of three Italian hostages in Iraq, according to Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Baghdad.

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«The patriarch, the patriarchate and I myself are trying to do something to rescue the hostages, which has nothing to do with the drama of the war,» the bishop told Vatican Radio today.

«But things are going very slowly,» he said. «For the time being we can say nothing … [as] it would damage the situation.»

Fabrizio Quattrocchi, one of the kidnapped Italians, was slain last week. There is no clear information on the identity of the group that kidnapped the civilians, who worked for a U.S. security firm.

Last Friday, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, expressed the Holy See’s willingness to mediate in favor of all those kidnapped in Iraq, should those involved request it.

About 70% of the Christians in Iraq, some 800,000, are part of the Chaldean Church.

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