Cardinal Sako issues Christmas message calling for hope
By Lisa Zengarini
As political tensions continue in Iraq, following the recent legislative elections, Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako is inviting Iraqi Christians not to lose hope and to pray for peace and stability in their country.
Peace and fraternity
In his Christmas Message, the Patriarch of the Chaldean Church reminds that hope is the core of Christmas. “In the midst of our growing concerns over the current political tensions and conflicts; environmental pollution and climate change; the Coronavirus pandemic and the post-eletoral challenges, Christmas is a powerful reminder of the message of hope filled with peace, fraternity, love, solidarity and God’s blessings”, Cardinal Sako writes.
“The birth of Jesus Christ expresses God’s love for people of all nations and cultures, at all times; and also shows His closeness and care for them”, the Patriarch continues, noting that that same love should inspire Christians to serve others, “especially the poorest and the vulnerable”.
True national vision
Cardinal Sako goes on to point out that hope is possible if a government serves the aspirations of the people with a “true national vision” and through solid dialogue to face crises so as to to fulfill democracy's promise of protecting security and the dignity of all citizens.
This hope – he further emphasizes - should be realized by Iraqis themselves at grass-root level rather than by relying on help from “ouside”. Communities should also reject sectarianism and come together to build a united nation based on the rule of law in which all citizens enjoy the same rights and freedom.
Praying for stability
“Let us pray for peace and stability in our beloved country, Iraq and the whole world. Let us radiate values of tolerance, mercy, peace, and fraternity, to live the ‘Glory to God in the Highest, and Peace on Earth’”, the message concludes.
In view of the Christmas celebrations the Chaldean Patriarchate has called a national day of fast and prayer for Iraq inviting Christians and all people of good will to pray for social and political stability in the country.
The legislative elections of October 10 have opened, once again, a turbulent phase in Iraqi politics, with results being contested by some parties, notably the pro-Iranian Shiite Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMFs) defeated by the polls. Concerns rose high early in November when Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi escaped from a drone attack on his Baghdad residence. Growing tensions have sounded an alarm among the Chaldean bishops, who have repeatedly called for a strong government to curb violence which would plunge the country in chaos.