This diaspora isn't sitting so well with the Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Louis Raphael I Sako, because a number of his priests have joined in it.
We have been there for 2,000 years. We have a mission and a role, and
if a future exists for the Chaldean Church, it is not in the diaspora but in
Iraq. If all the families leave, and even the priests, the entire history and
Chaldean Christian patrimony will vanish.
So, Patriarch Sako has demanded that approximately 10 of his 14 priests serving in 19 Western states--who did not receive his permission to leave--must return to Iraq. He noted:
The priests who escaped without any canonical documents encourage
others to leave, including their own families. They have asked for exile
in Western countries, while others have remained in fidelity to their
people. There is no justice in this. If we do not put a limit on this, others
will also leave and the Church and the country will be without Christians.
We have a vocation. A priest has given himself to the Lord and to service:
he shouldn’t seek his freedom, his security. His future is found in fidelity
to Christ and his people, not in America or Australia. One might say that
he has citizenship in these countries, but what does that have to do with
So it is: When ordained, priests promise obedience to the ordaining bishop and his successors. Case closed. Head back to the homeland and deal with the reality on the ground, as the first Christians did.
Well, not so fast.
The pastor at St. Peter's Chaldean Church in El Cajon, CA, Father Noel Gorgis, has appealed directly to Pope Francis. Not part of the Roman Catholic Church, the Chaldean Church reveres the Roman Pontiff as the "Father of all Christians."
Pope Francis seemed to have settled the issue last week, deciding that the Chaldean Catholic priests need not acquiesce to their Patriarch's order.
That decision didn't set very well with Patriarch Sako, who issued a statement noting that the Pope does not possess the authority to overturn the order. Not indicating what he would do in response to the Pope's decision, His Beatitude has left his options open for the time being, but did indicate that if the priests don't return, he would suspend their faculties to serve as Chaldean Catholic priests.
It doesn't seem that Patriarch Sako has been smitten by the "Francis effect."
Let the discussion begin...
To read the Aleteia article, click on the following link:http://www.aleteia.org/en/religion/article/chaldean-priests-forced-to-choose-
To read Patriarch Sako's interview in Aleteia, click on the following link:
To read the latest news about about this dispute, click on the following link: