Pope says nothing justifies persecutions in Iraq, Syria


“No religious, political or economic motives can justify what is happening to hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children:” that’s what Pope Francis said Thursday, calling what is happening to Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria “daily persecution.”

Pope Francis was speaking in a Vatican audience to Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV. The Patriarch is head of one of the oldest Christian churches tracing its roots back to the first century in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. Though theological discussions are on-going, the Assyrian Church of the East is not in communion with Rome.

In his remarks, Pope Francis noted the suffering “that we share from the wars that are crossing different regions in the Middle East, and in particular, from the violence that Christians and the faithful of other religious minorities are subjected to, especially in Iraq and in Syria.”

He added we feel “profoundly united in prayer and in charitable action towards these suffering members of Christ’s body.”