All the priests in the capital have decided to donate the money to the neediest. The Chaldean patriarchate had already allocated US,000 to this end. Card Sako again urged respect for social distancing in churches and government health directives. Group activities remain suspended, but the use of the Internet and social media will be enhanced.
Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Parish priests in Baghdad have decided to donate their salaries to help the poor and the people most affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The money will be added to the US,000 already allocated by the Chaldean patriarchate for this purpose.
The decision came at the end of a meeting yesterday evening between the priests, the primate Card Louis Raphael Sako, and auxiliary bishops Shemon Warduni and Basil Yaldo.
During the meeting, the cardinal and the priests discussed recent developments in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chaldean primate reiterated the need to respect social distancing in churches, and uphold government health directives and lockdowns to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus.
To this end, all group activities within the parishes remain suspended until further notice, including catechism and activities for youth.
Card Sako also noted that the Chaldean Church plans to further use the Internet and social media to keep in touch with the faithful.
“Educational and religious programmes" will be offered, without forgetting the needs and requirements of daily life "of families facing hardships in such difficult times”.
In a plea to the Christian community, the patriarch stressed that “at this historical and fateful time, all Iraqis must put aside their personal struggles and interests” in order to promote “shared action and solidarity against the common enemy" that threatens lives, the economy and social and religious relations.
According to official sources, Iraq has 1,677 cases of the coronavirus with 83 deaths and 1,171 people recovered.
However, medical sources and independent analysts have criticised the official toll; what is more, in recent weeks, some doctors have been targeted by police for reporting three times more cases.