STATEMENT OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE VATICAN PRESS OFFICE ON BEHALF OF THE HOLY FATHER:
The Holy Father is following with deep concern the dramatic news reports coming from
northern Iraq, which involve defenseless populations. Christian communities are
particularly affected: a people fleeing from their villages because of the violence that rages
in these days, wreaking havoc on the entire region.
At the Angelus prayer on July 20th, Pope Francis cried with pain: "[O]ur brothers and sisters
are persecuted, they are pushed out, forced to leave their homes without the opportunity to
take anything with them. To these families and to these people I would like to express my
closeness and my steadfast prayer. Dearest brothers and sisters so persecuted, I know how
much you suffer, I know that you are deprived of everything. I am with you in your faith in
Him who conquered evil!"
In light of these terrible developments, the Holy Father renews his spiritual closeness to all
those who are suffering through this painful trial, and makes the impassioned appeals of
the local bishops his own, asking together with them in behalf of their sorely tried
communities, that the whole Church and all the faithful raise up with one voice a ceaseless
prayer, imploring the Holy Spirit to send the gift of peace.
His Holiness urgently calls on the international community to protect all those affected or
threatened by the violence, and to guarantee all necessary assistance – especially the most
urgently needed aid – to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their
homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others.
The Pope also appeals to the conscience of all people, and to each and every believer he
repeats: "May the God of peace create in all an authentic desire for dialogue and
reconciliation. Violence is not conquered with violence. Violence is conquered with peace! Let
us pray in silence, asking for peace; everyone, in silence.... Mary Queen of peace, pray for us!"
(Angelus, July 20, 2014).