July 10, 2010
Pope Encourages Leadership of Iraqi Government
Says Sufferings Can Unite Christians and
VATICAN CITY. Benedict XVI is
encouraging the swift formation of a democratic Iraqi government
as elected by the people, and its leadership in giving an
example of interreligious tolerance.
The Pope stated this today when he received in audience the new
Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See, Habbeb Mohammed Hadi Ali Al-Sadr.
In the March 7 elections, he affirmed, "the people of Iraq gave
a clear sign to the world that they wish to see an end to
violence and that they have chosen the path of democracy,
through which they aspire to live in harmony with one another
within a just, pluralist and inclusive society."
"It is to be hoped that the formation of a new government will
now proceed swiftly so that the will of the people for a more
stable and unified Iraq may be accomplished," the Pontiff
He continued: "Those who have been elected to political office
will need to show great courage and determination themselves, in
order to fulfill the high expectations that have been placed in
"You may be assured that the Holy See, which has always valued
its excellent diplomatic relations with your country, will
continue to provide whatever assistance it can, so that Iraq may
assume its rightful place as a leading nation in the region with
much to contribute to the international community."
The Holy Father expressed the "earnest hope" that Iraq "will
emerge from the difficult experiences of the past decade as a
model of tolerance and cooperation among Muslims, Christians and
others in the service of those most in need."
He emphasized the need for the new government "to give priority
to measures designed to improve security for all sectors of the
population, particularly the various minorities."
"The Holy See naturally shares the concern you have expressed
that Iraqi Christians should remain in their ancestral homeland,
and that those who have felt constrained to emigrate will soon
consider it safe to return," Benedict XVI told the ambassador.
Children of Abraham
He added, "It is greatly to be hoped that Iraqi society in the
future will be marked by peaceful coexistence, as is in keeping
with the aspirations of those who are rooted in the faith of
The Pope acknowledged that "recent years have seen many tragic
acts of violence committed against innocent members of the
population, both Muslim and Christian, acts which as you have
pointed out are contrary to the teachings of Islam as well as
those of Christianity."
He added, "This shared suffering can provide a deep bond,
strengthening the determination of Muslims and Christians alike
to work for peace and reconciliation."
"Long after the present troubles have receded into the past,"
the Pontiff said, "the names of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho,
Father Ragheed Ganni and many more will live on as shining
examples of the love that led them to lay down their lives for
He continued, "May their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of so many
others like them, strengthen within the Iraqi people the moral
determination that is necessary if political structures for
greater justice and stability are to achieve their intended
The Holy Father acknowledged the ambassador's address in which
he spoke about the Iraqi government's commitment to respect
He said, "Among the rights that must be fully respected if the
common good is to be effectively promoted, the rights to freedom
of religion and freedom of worship are paramount, since it is
they that enable citizens to live in conformity with their
transcendent dignity as persons made in the image of their
Benedict XVI affirmed, "I therefore hope and pray that these
rights will not only be enshrined in legislation, but will come
to permeate the very fabric of society -- all Iraqis have a part
to play in building a just, moral and peaceable environment."