The bishops of Iraq are calling the faithful of their nation to push back against factions that are moving the country into further conflict.

In a statement released Tuesday to Fides, the bishops asked all Iraqis to "react against sectarian violence and clashes between political factions presently pushing the country back into chaos."

Fides reported that the statement urged Christians to pray during Lent "to obtain the gift of peace and security for the whole country."

"Political and social leaders were urged to engage in dialogue to discern prompt solutions to the national crisis and thus put an end to violence."

The bishops also urged emigrants to return to their homeland.

The statement came from the bishops gathered in assembly, which for the first time was attended by superiors of religious orders and religious congregations. 

The meeting elected a new secretary in the person of Bishop Shlemon Warduni, auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad of the Chaldeans. He will be assisted by Archbishop Yousef Abba, archbishop of Baghdad of Syrian Catholics.