'Beautiful Witness Of Fidelity To Christ' In Iraq

By: Father Seán Coyle

On Friday 29 February this year, just after celebrating the Qurbana, the Eucharist of the Chaldean Rite of the Catholic Church, in the Church of the Holy Spirit, Mosul (the ancient city of Nineveh), Iraq, Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho was kidnapped. His driver, Ferris, and two bodyguards, Samir and Ramy, each a married man with three children, were shot dead. On 13 March, after a phone call, the body of the archbishop was found in a shallow grave. It wasn’t clear if he had been directly murdered or if his death was due to the lack of medicine that he needed because of his poor health. He seemed to have been dead for about a week. Pope Benedict expressed his distress, describing what happened as ‘an act of inhuman violence that offends the dignity of the human being and seriously harms the . . . coexistence among the beloved Iraqi people’.