عدد المساهمات : 38191
تاريخ التسجيل : 21/09/2009
|موضوع: رد: ko: Pope appeals for Iraqi Church to be a "bridge" in encounter with Muslims السبت 09 فبراير 2013, 03:43|| |
ko: Pope appeals for Iraqi Church to be a "bridge" in encounter with
by Dario Salvi
Mar Louis Raphael I speaks to AsiaNews about the guidelines
of the new mission, based on unity and dialogue beginning with a "common and
reformed liturgy." Renewed cooperation among the bishops, an element of strength
in discussions with political and religious leaders. The hope that the "message"
of Islam will prevail and not "rules and systems."
Rome (AsiaNews): The Chaldean Church
must remain a "bridge" to promote and strengthen the dialogue between Christians
and Muslims in Iraq, between citizens of different ethnic groups as well as
between institutions and politics. This is Benedict XVI's invitation to the new
Chaldean Patriarch, as told in a lengthy interview with AsiaNews. Mar Louis
Raphael I Sako was appointed on 31 January to succeed Card. Emmanuel Delly III,
who resigned for reasons of age. The Chaldean "mini Conclave" which started on
28 January in Rome, was attended by Chaldean 15 bishops, including seven from
Iraq, two from Iran, two from the U.S., and one each from Lebanon, Syria,
Australia and Canada . The Archbishop of Kirkuk - who will soon leave the north
bound for Baghdad - confirms that his goals will be "unity and cooperation"
between the Chaldean bishops, the necessary condition to find a point of contact
and dialogue with Iraqi leaders, both religious and political. Among the first
objectives to be achieved, says His Beatitude, is the reform of the liturgy,
which he considers "a mess."
At the same time the newly elected Patriarch, who
returns to Iraq today, has not forgotten the plight of Iraqi Christian refugees,
who should be ensured "the conditions" for their return home: housing, jobs,
schools, infrastructure and security. A long-time advocate and promoter of
interfaith dialogue, Mar Louis Raphael I says he is "very determined" to open a
round table with the leadership of the capital, after receiving the "best
wishes" from religious leaders and leaders of the main political and highest
institutional offices. And hope that, even in the Islamic world, "the message"
brought by Muhammad and "the sense that gives our lives" will prevail over
systems or laws that "ultimately suffocate freedom.
Here, below, the new Chaldean Patriarch's
interview with AsiaNews:
Your Beatitude, what did Pope Benedict XVI have
to say to you when you met after your election?
The Pope's concern for the Iraqi church deeply
impressed me. He spent time speaking with each of us bishops. I wanted to thank
him for his closeness and prayer and, jokingly, I said that "I feel
uncomfortable" wearing these red vestments (in the photo), I'm not used to them.
Benedict XVI reiterated that he will continue to pray for us and said he was
"very happy" for the unity that emerged within the Chaldean episcopate, a unity
of purpose that emerged in the vote for the election of the Patriarch. So, this
is very positive and important for a Church which, until recently, was divided.
We had a two-day meeting just among ourselves, all the bishops together: we
discussed the situation in Iraq, peace and security. The Pope appealed to me so
that we remain, as in the past, a bridge for all, between Christians and Muslims
and between Iraqi citizens. Among other things, I brought the greetings of two
imams, a Shiite and a Sunni, and he was pleasantly surprised and thanked them. I
would say that there were no great speeches, but he spoke with his heart, what
he said, came from the heart and not from the pen.
In your new post of Patriarch will you work -
as you did before as bishop - for the unity of Chaldean Christians?
Unity is a much needed value for Christians and
for the whole country, because you can not promote the unity of a group if all
others are divided. What is certain is that a common vision among the Christians
can help the unity of the nation function. If we are one body with one voice, we
can also become a bridge to help others through unity and dialogue. The recent
attacks in the country, the bombings in Kirkuk, Mosul and Baghdad are
politically motivated, which is why I have always wanted to strongly condemn
them. Also because, as has happened in recent days in the north (in Kirkuk
attack against a police headquarters with dozens of victims, ed) in all the
massacres, the innocent people are always the first to die.
Another long-standing problem, the exodus of
Christians: what is the situation and what will you do to contain it?
The situation is critical, and even today, it
remains very difficult. In recent days I have received many telegrams from the
head of state, the government, the ministers, the President of Parliament,
Muslim religious leaders (Sunni and Shiite) and all agree that something must be
done to stop or at least slow down the exodus of Christians. In these days in
Rome we had two meetings with all the bishops present, speaking of viable ways
to concretely curb this exodus.
First of all we must visit and help the refugees
in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. At the same time, we must seek a meeting
with the leaders of the government of Kurdistan and establish conditions under
which Christians will be able to return to their land. The preconditions are
that we can provide them with a home, work, schools, and infrastructure, all of
this necessary. And then restore their confidence in the country, because that
is what people have lost: hope and confidence.
As Patriarch what directives will you be giving
to the Iraqi Church: what reforms are urgently needed?
First of all, the liturgy, which is a state of
chaos in the Chaldean Church. Take, for example, the Mass, each diocese has its
own missal, every priest celebrates in a different way. Having a common and
reformed liturgy single to the entire Church ... this is a project that I really
care about. This is not to say that there will be no freedom for the individual
dioceses, but one point can not be ignored: there must be the same mass in
Baghdad, Kirkuk, Kurdistan and also throughout the Chaldean Diaspora in the
world. Even if it is translated into the national or local language, that is not
a problem, as long as the liturgical norms to be respected remain, even this can
become an element of unity.
In the words of St. John Chrysostom, "the liturgy
is for the man" and the man should not remain subject to the liturgy. There is a
movement among us who want the liturgy is rigid, as if it were the "Word of
God", but it is not so! So, reform or, better said, the updating of it is
absolutely necessary for people to understand what happens during the
celebration, which remains a celebration, and the faithful must be able to
understand it fully.
On the subject of relations with Islam, would
you like to continue the process of dialogue initiated in Kirkuk?
In the north we have launched an intense dialogue,
I will not forget the years spent in Kirkuk and the work done, although now my
new assignment will take me to Baghdad. From the capital I will try to talk with
the government, bring together Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen. I am
very determined to open a dialogue with the authorities and the leaders of
Baghdad, who have a greater weight than the leaders of Kirkuk. The ground is
prepared: they sent me greetings via television and email, I think
disinterested, honest and sincere dialogue is possible. Because there is also
love and respect on their side. In addition to the awareness that we Christians
are in Iraq also for our Muslim brothers. Religion is one thing, while
citizenship is another and different from faith.
Do you think we will ever see the concept of
"secular states" even in Muslim countries?
I think it will be very difficult, because they
have a negative and pejorative concept of the secular state, with respect to the
meaning that is given in the West. It is somehow perceived as a cancelling out
of differences and amounts, in essence, to an atheist State which is neither
conceivable nor acceptable. Perhaps a civil society that respects religion,
without mixing with politics, could be a strong point.
Your Beatitude, in this "Arab Winter" as you
recently termed it, what prospects are there for the Middle East and the Arab
At the beginning the possibility of an Arab Spring
was envisaged for all, made of freedom, progress, happiness and a net change in
the politics. However, it was not an organized movement and others have taken
advantage of this. Now the goal is to create nations and states based on Sharia,
or Islamic law, but it is an anti-historical idea: it is not possible to live in
a religious state, which considers all the same in the observance of the one
faith in an era of pluralism and affirmation of different souls. You can not
annihilate diversity under one mantle dictated by religion. The fact remains
that this spring dreamed up by promoters is increasingly becoming a "terrible
So the real challenge is to create a dialogue
in diversity ...
I think that those who want an Islamic state like
in the seventh century are wrong, because it is not possible. If they are
sincere to the spirit of Islam, they must be distinguished the message, - as the
Christians did over time - the essentials for people today, from the canons,
from law. The message is one thing, the rules dictated by Sharia are anything
but. These laws that were good for the people of the seventh century, now no
longer work and can not be applied in the same way. Instead, it must be the
message, the sense that it gives our lives and not the systems that ultimately