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No. 6674

Francis donates a million to Iraq

August 29 2014 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)

POPE FRANCIS has given a personal contribution of $1 million (£600,000) to help Christians and other minorities in Iraq.

The donation was disclosed by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Pope’s personal envoy to Iraq, who last week visited Erbil in Kurdistan, which is now home to 70,000 Christians who have fled Islamic State terrorists. Cardinal Filoni met Pope Fran- cis in private on August 22, the day he returned from Iraqi Kurdistan. The cardinal said he had taken a tenth of the Pope’s contribution to Iraq and that “75 per cent of the money was deliv- ered to Catholics and the remain- ing 25 per cent to the Yazidi community”.

He said: “Pope Francis gave me a humanitarian mission, not a diplomatic mission, and this is what I always emphasised to Iraqi authorities.”ThePope’s decision to send a personal envoy to Iraq, the cardi- nal said, “meant to me that, if he had been able to go, he would have”.

More than a million Iraqi Chris- tians, Shia and Yazidis have fled from the Islamic State, which controls an area of Iraq and Syria the size of Britain. Cardinal Filoni said that Pope Francis entrusted him with letters for Kurdish president Masoud Barzani and Iraqi president Fuad Masum, presenting him “as his personal envoy and expressing his concern for what Christians and minorities in general are suffering, because they have been uprooted from their lands and persecuted”.

􏰀 Pope sends personal gift to help Christians driven from homes by Islamic State militants BY STAFF REPORTER around the patriarchs, kissing the crosses and medals adorning their vestments, and asking the prelates for blessings and to pray over the sick.

Pope Francis embraces a woman during his weekly audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican on August 20 CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters On August 15, the feast of the Assumption, the Christians joined a Marian procession near a statue of Mary by the entrance of Ankawa camp.

“It was very touching. The [Melkite] patriarch cried many times when he saw these people,” he said. “He was hugging and kissing them as he cried. Of course, I cried too. I think all the patriarchs cried because they felt helpless. There was nothing they could do at that very moment.”

One refugee, Sahar Mansour, who lectured in chemistry at the University of Mosul until June, described life in the camp. The 40-year-old said her day began with her waking under the plastic cover of the makeshift tent that has become her home. She said humanitarian assistance from the international community meant food was at last reaching the more than 70,000 displaced Iraqis who live in at least six centres around Ankawa, an Assyrian Christian suburb of Erbil.

“The situation is almost a tragedy,” she said. “The place is too small to contain these fami- lies. You see people sleeping in the church, [the] hall, outside the church, under the trees. Others have set up tents to protect them from the heat of the sun and in the park in front of the church.

“The thing that made me depressed is that diseases are spreading among kids. The elderly people cannot cope with the heat, a lot of them were faint- ing, and deaths are being recorded.”

Cardinal Filoni said: “The Church does not back any war. The right to defend one’s self is legitimate. But our Christians in Iraq have no arms. Therefore, it is He suggested that “in an inter- national framework, the United Nations should decide” whether to intervene, but added that “the Church will not tell the United

Clerics visiting the refugee areas of the country have described the terrible conditions some of the refugees face. Fr Rami Wakim, the secretary to Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham, said he was shocked by the numbers of

Various rooms in the churches were filled to capacity, with up to 50 people sleeping in areas the size of a single bedroom and with the overflow spreading on to church grounds, car parks and streets, now dotted with makeshift tents amid intense heat.

Qaraqosh, a town inhabited mostly by Christians for 2,000 years and home to 45,000 people before the Islamic State took control. Readers can help Iraqi refugees by donating to Aid to the Church in Need on 020 8642 8668 or through its website, They can give to Cafod’s appeal by calling 0500 858885 or via the website

Mosul is now completely empty of Christians, as is “They all fled at the same time without taking anything,” Fr Wakim told the American Catholic News Service. Fr Wakim said crowds of people gathered Editorial comment: Page 13

Archbishop drops lawsuit after Satanists return consecrated Host


Last week Pope Francis told reporters it would be legitimate to take action, with the approval of the United Nations, to stop the Islamic State. necessary that someone – in this case, the legitimate authorities of the country – should defend minorities, especially those most in danger.” Nations what they have or they do not have to do”. displaced Iraqis he encountered in Erbil. The priest accompanied a delegation of Catholic and Ortho- dox patriarchs last week on a mission to show their support for the persecuted Christians and other minorities. They visited the displaced at three different churches and Fr Wakim described mattresses scattered around altars.

AN AMERICAN archbishop has dropped the threat of legal action against Satanists after they returned a consecrated Host they had planned to use in a “black Mass”. Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City had taken legal action after the leader of the Satanic group Dakhma of Angra Mainyu said they planned “to defile and dese- crate” it during a “black Mass” on September 21 at the Civic Center Music Hall in Okla- homa City.

BY STAFF REPORTER use a consecrated Host in their rituals. as part of a planned Satanic ritual,” the archbishop said in a statement. “I remain concerned about the dark powers that this Satanic worship invites into our community and the spiri- tual danger that this poses to all who are involved in it, directly or indirectly.”

A lawyer representing the head of the Satanic group presented the Host to a Catholic priest last week with a signed statement from the Satanist group’s leader that the group no longer possesses a consecrated Host and will not “I am relieved that we have been able to secure the return of the sacred Host, and that we have prevented its desecration Earlier this month Arch- bishop Coakley asked Catholics to offer prayers and penance to prevent the Satanic group Dakhma of Angra Mainyu from holding a “black Mass”.

Star asks Francis to Players warm up for takeonicechallenge Pope’speacematch



A FOOTBALL match played by star players from differ- ent religious traditions will help “spread the Pope’s message of peace to thing for world peace. I think the fact that so many stars have joined


The challenge is sweeping social networks in order to raise awareness about the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (motor neurone disease) and encourage people to donate to charity. Partici- pants video themselves pour-

THE POP STAR Shakira has nominated Pope Francis for the popular “Ice Bucket Chal- lenge”. But the Church has been critical of the new craze, pioneered by many celebri- ties, pointing out that the research they are promoting may involve the use of human embryos. Cincinnati archdio- cese has already told head teachers at 113 Catholic schools in the area to “imme- diately cease” donations to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association for this reason, requesting that any money raised should instead be given to a “morally licit” organisa- tion.

BY MADELEINE TEAHAN ing a bucket of ice cold water over themselves and donate money to charity. They subse- quently nominate other friends to do the same. BY WILL GORE this project, it was a big concern for us to do some-

has said.The match,


the world”, former Inter Milan and Argentina captain Javier Zanetti in can help professional football support peace. 


suggested by Pope Francis, will take place at Rome’s Olympic Stadium on September 1. do is spread the Pope’s message of

Mr Zanetti told Vatican Radio: “When I spoke to Pope Francis about Lionel Messi, Gianluigi Buffon, Samuel Eto’o and


Adam Daniel, the head of Dakhma, claimed he had received the Host in the post from a priest in Turkey. Rituals during a “black Mass” include having participants throw Hosts on the floor and stamp on them.

In May Catholics success- fully forced organisers to cancel a “black Mass” at Harvard University in Massa- chusetts after they held a Eucharistic procession and a Holy Hour attended by more than 1,500 people.




“Although the game is raising money for charita-



ble purposes, the most important thing we want to

peace to the world.”










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