The Chairman of the Department of International Affairs at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the Rt Rev Crispian Hollis, has issued a statement in response to the escalating violence directed at Christians in Iraq:
“It is with great sadness and alarm that we have seen a marked rise in the violence directed against Iraqi Christians. Within the past few weeks, the murder of Fr Ragheed Aziz Ganni and three sub deacons in Mosul and the kidnapping of Fr Hanni Abdel Ahad along with five young people in Baghdad show the grave risks that Christians face because of their faith.
“In these terrible circumstances, I want to express publicly my support for the Christian community and for the heroic witness that priests, lay people and religious are giving throughout Iraq. The people of Iraq need our prayers and practical support and I commend to you those Catholic agencies working to support the Church within Iraq. I will be asking the people of the Portsmouth diocese to join me in prayer for all those suffering in Iraq and particularly for Christians as they face persecution because of their faith.”
Rt Rev Crispian Hollis
Bishop of Portsmouth
Chairman, Department of International Affairs, CBCEW