the importance of Pope Francis’ visit to Ur of Chaldea and the interreligious meeting
Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako
Next Saturday, the sixth of March, that is, like today, Pope Francis will visit the Chaldean city of Ur in the province of Dhi Qar. This visit has its significance, and impact inside and outside Iraq. Its importance stems from the difficult and complex conditions that Iraq and the countries of the region live in, and from the places he visits and the people he will meet. It is an indication of the openness of Iraq to the to the global arena.
Representatives of the religions in Iraq will participate in this fraternal, human and spiritual meeting.
Pope Francis has been highlighting human fraternity and encouraging those in charge to enhance it in the midst of regional conflicts and struggles. However, here on the land of Abraham there is something special and distinctive, which is the brotherly faith that overwhelms us with its gifts. Christians, Muslims, Jews and others share the authenticity of Abraham’s belief in one God, and they should respect the beauty of being different in expressing it. Such diversity is richness rather than a reason for disagreement or fighting.
In fact, we use many times in our prayers the same vocabulary: love, mercy, and forgiveness for sins in addition to retrieval from diseases and dangers. Even if we say it differently, the meaning remains the same as in the Christian prayer “Our Father in Heaven, and Muslim prayer in Surat Al-Fatihah.
Our mission as spiritual leaders and members of Abraham family is: to direct all our efforts for the good of mankind; to raise awareness of the values of love, tolerance, solidarity, cooperation, respect for life and environment, achieve peace and stability; and to cease disagreements, conflicts and absurd wars that only bring death and destruction.
This historic visit that happens in such an exceptional circumstance, should impact all Iraqis and regional inhabitants, to change positively towards a heartfelt fraternity and consolidated coexistent that guarantees dignity for every human being. The strength of our faith and our prayers are essential factors for change.
On the land of Abraham, Pope Francis today implants the value of fraternity and love that we must water, and pray for Almighty God to nurture it.