Christmas Midnight Mass Canceled in Iraq

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KIRKUK, Iraq, DEC. 22, 2010 ( Due to the ongoing violence against Iraqi Christians, Christmas Eve midnight Mass has been canceled, and the Church has taken on an attitude of sobriety instead of festivity.

Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk reported to AsiaNews that due to security concerns, the midnight Mass will not take place in Baghdad, Mosul and Kirkuk.

Also for security reasons, the churches will not be decorated, he noted, and Masses will be «somber» and held during the day.

«A sense of sadness and mourning prevails among Christians,» the prelate reported, due to the Oct. 31 massacre in the Syrian Catholic cathedral of Baghdad and the ongoing violence.

«No one expects anything from the government as far as protecting Christians,» he stated. «Political leaders are too caught up in setting up a new administration.»

Despite this, Archbishop Sako said, «Christmas brings a message of hope.»

«For us in Iraq,» he added, «Christmas is a time of hope and joy as well as pain and martyrdom.»

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