The European refugee situation is highlighting an issue that has been simmering for some time: the tug of war over Christians in the Middle East. While many Christians from trouble spots such as Syria and Iraq have decided to seek a more stable life in the West, Christian leaders fear an exodus that might drive the final nail in the coffin of a two-millennia presence in the Holy Land.Share
Patriarch Louis Sako, the Baghdad-based head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, is the latest to voice his concern. In an interview Monday with La Stampa‘s Vatican Insider, he argued strongly against Christian emigration and criticized anyone who would give a preference to Christians seeking refuge in the West.
And, the bishop who earlier this year ordered overseas Iraqi priests to return to their homeland called priests and religious who went abroad without their superiors’ permission “luxury emigrants.” In response to a question about Christian nations giving Christian refugees priority, the patriarch said, “This should not happen.”
“It would pose a problem for us too,” he said, referring to the dwindling Christian community that is left behind, adding that those most likely to go abroad are the young and able Iraqis who can help rebuild society.
“It will encourage those who say they want to give a religious justification to war,” he went on. “Those on either side who say Christians cannot stay.” (Read more.)