Below is a translation of a statement released Thursday by the Congregation for the Oriental Churches on the situation in Iraq and Syria:
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, gives his heartfelt thanks to Pope Francis for his very thoughtful closeness expressed to the more than 100,000 Christians that, during the night, had to leave their homes, churches and villages in the biblical plain of Nineveh in Iraq, and are now making their way to the city of Erbil, in impossible conditions, in search of ever more uncertain refuge and survival.
“Interpreting the immense grief and the indignation of Eastern Catholic pastors and faithful scattered throughout the world,” Cardinal Sandri “renews his most intense prayer to the Lord for the populations harshly affected by the barbarity, totally contrary to human dignity and full and Christian solidarity, in their treatment.”
And he hopes that, “in the extreme gravity of the situation, the civil world, public authorities and international organizations will not delay in their indispensable humanitarian interventions, as well as at every other level, to halt, especially in Iraq and Syria, the painful and profoundly unjust exodus of Christians from the land they have inhabited for two thousand years.”
“They are acts against God and against all sense of humanity.”
In constant contact with Chaldean Patriarch Sako, with the papal representation at Baghdad and the local bishops, the Congregation for the Oriental Churches “encourages those in charge and all those who are sensitive to the fate of Christians in the East, to carry out urgently all that is indispensable to alleviate the sufferings. Deprived of water and food, and of all other basic needs, children, the elderly and the sick are in the most unbearable tribulation. Feared, unfortunately, is a disastrous outcome if an end is not put to the marked general insecurity, fueled by the indifference denounced so often by many.[Original Text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]