Iraqi Prelate: Living God's Word Comes With Price

Cardinal Recalls New Martyrs at Synod

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 14, 2008 ( Life is a Calvary in Iraq, says the archbishop of Baghdad, who presented the synod fathers with a look at the suffering in the war-torn country.

Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans and archbishop of Baghdad, addressed the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops today.

«I am a son of the land of Abraham, Iraq. I am sure that the major part of this blessed assembly wishes to have some information about the situation of this tortured and bloodied country,» he said, according to the summary of his intervention provided by the Vatican.

The cardinal said his address would not be a political commentary, but the reflection of «a father who lives with his spiritual sons for the last half century and who sees his citizens suffering and dying. A father who feels the sacred duty to defend the rights of the Church and of her faithful and feels his own duty to admonish those responsible for the situation to follow the just paths of peace and security. Let us say the truth: We have tried everything to obtain peace and serenity for the country.»

Nevertheless, Cardinal Delly lamented, the «situation in some parts of Iraq is disastrous and tragic.»

«Life is a Calvary,» he said. «Peace and security are lacking, just as the fundamental elements in daily life. Electricity, water, fuel continue to be lacking; telephone communication is always more difficult; whole roads are blocked; schools either closed or in a continuous danger; hospitals function with a reduced staff; the people fear for their own safety. All fear kidnapping, abduction and intimidation.»

The cardinal said that for Iraqi Christians, to «live the Word of God means to us to bear witness to it to the cost of our own lives, as has occurred and still occurs till now with the sacrifice of the bishops, priests and faithful. They remain in Iraq, strong in faith and love of Christ, thanks to the fire of the Word of God. Because of this, I beg of you to pray to the Lord Jesus, the Word of God, for us and with us, and share our concern, our hopes and the suffering of our wounded, so that the Word of God made flesh stay in his Church and with us as good news and as support.»

The cardinal concluded by recalling that 16 priests and two bishops have been kidnapped and later released after a ransom was paid.

Others, he lamented, «belong to a line of new martyrs that today pray for us from the heavens: the archbishop of Mosul, Faraj Rahho; Father Raghid Ganni; another two priests and another six young persons.»

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