Refugees in Iraq

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS - DFID - UK Department for International Development (picture: Rachel Unkovic/International Rescue Committee)

Cor Unum Coordinating Efforts to Aid Iraqis

Conference in September With Catholic Organizations to Confront Challenges in War Torn Country

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The Pontifical Council Cor Unum is planning a third meeting on September 17 with Catholic charitable organizations, active in counteracting the humanitarian crisis in Iraq. It is also  organizing a congress on the 10th anniversary of Benedict XVI’s first encyclical Deus Caritas Est. The conferences were announced by Monsignor Giampietro Dal Toso, Secretary of the dicastery, in an interview published yesterday by Vatican Radio.

Monsignor Dal Toso stressed that “it is difficult to carry out an operative coordination because there are many individuals, because the situation is very delicate, because the country isn’t accessible in all its parts and because many important questions are at stake.”

Therefore, Cor Unum and all the charitable organizations will attempt to make present that “there is an important witness of the Church at this moment in favor of our suffering brothers and sisters in Syria and in Iraq” and, in general, of the whole Iraqi population.

Recalling how, on one hand, Pope Francis is encouraging a “political solution to halt the war,” on the other the Church is committed to fostering “humanitarian” and “pastoral” assistance to persecuted or fugitive Christians.”

Speaking of the days of study on Deus Caritas Est, Monsignor Dal Toso said that they will be held on February 25-26 at the Palazzo San Pio X in Rome, and that the encyclical is presented as “a corner stone for the whole sector of the Church’s charity, for having given a theological direction to all this activity, to all the Church’s charity service and especially because this service is central to the Church, as are the preaching of the Word of God and the celebration of the Sacraments,” he stressed.

In this connection, “Pope Benedict has given a theological picture that Pope Francis witnesses daily,” a service to suffering humanity” to which the present Pontiff “calls us continually and that he lives personally.”

Deus Caritas Est must be read  “with a look forward because of the prospects that it continues to open for our charitable activity,” he added.

Sent to the meeting for the 10th anniversary will be “representatives of the Episcopal Conferences, representatives of large Catholic charity and volunteer organizations and Pontifical Universities, in addition to representatives and the different Chairs of the Theology of Charity present in the world.”

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