04/06/2020, 12.48
IRAQ
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Patriarch Sako: Easter resurrection stronger than coronavirus darkness

In his message to the faithful, the cardinal stresses hope of a pass-over "from darkness to light,” from “suffering to freedom; from selfishness to altruism and from isolation to solidarity". Politicians have the task of rethinking development, protecting creation and building a world without wars, death, and poverty.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Card Louis Raphael Sako issued a letter on the occasion of Easter to Chaldean priests and the Chaldean community in Iraq and the world.

In it, the Chaldean Primate notes that because of the novel coronavirus, Christians around the world are unable to celebrate the liturgies like every year. However, they are still “praying at their homes," keeping hope alive for a "Pass-Over”, a passage “from darkness to light, from fragility to strength, from illness to health,” for an “Easter of Resurrection”.

In the letter, sent to AsiaNews, the cardinal focuses on the need for humanity to reawaken, to go “from suffering to freedom; from selfishness to altruism and from isolation to fraternal solidarity,” so that “people can live together with love, respect, peace and joy.”

For Iraqi Christians, Holy Week celebrations this year mean empty churches and the fight against an invisible enemy, as Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Baghdad noted recently.

Overall, about 961 people have tested positive to the COVID-19 virus, but the number probably runs in the thousands according to doctors and experts. The death toll stands at 61 and 279 people healed.

Despite restrictions and preventive measures taken around the world, the novel coronavirus “is still killing thousands of people”. As the outbreak grows, “human health, social life and economy” are threatened.

In light of the situation, humanity must “make the right decisions” in the fight against the pandemic, and “needs an awakening for its rebirth.”

To this end, Card Sako urges everyone to examine their behaviour, focus on morals that falter and lead to “corruption, greed, stealing public money, violence, threats, murders, displacement, divorce, abortion, etc.”

“Since we have distanced God from our world or hanged our mistakes on Him,” the pandemic and Easter should be seen as “an invitation for a full conversion to God and the principles of our faith, spirituality and real morals”.

Addressing the powerful, the prelate calls on political leaders not to lose "their humanity", and amid the deaths and the destruction, have “a moment of reflection” to review, analyse, criticise and correct “policies and strategies”.

Citing Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’, the cardinal calls for actions to protect the environment, to fight pollution and climate change and ban weapons, urging world leaders to respect human rights and laws and build a world without wars, conflicts, death, fear and poverty.

Inspired by the pontiff's encyclical, the patriarch ends his letter saying that it is time “for a comprehensive plan to build a peaceful and prosperous world, where social justice can be applied and clean environment can be sustained for a better future”.

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