Strong response from Syriac Catholic Archdiocese of Baghdad to Chaldean Patriarch Mor Louis Raphael Sako

BAGHDAD — In the wake of repeated verbal assaults on the Syriac Catholic Church by Chaldean Patriarch Mar Louis Raphael Sako, the Secretariat of the Syriac Catholic Archdiocese of Baghdad issued a response.

Expressing deep pain and regret, Archbishop Youssef Aba, Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Baghdad and Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Syriac Catholic Church, addressed the insult and recklessness directed at the Syriac Catholic Church in a recent statement.

Archbishop Aba emphasized that the verbal attacks targeted not only the Syriac Catholic Patriarch but also Syriac Catholic archbishops in Iraq. He clarified that they are not parties to Patriarch Sako’s political conflicts with certain parties.

Highlighting the importance of maintaining decorum, Archbishop Aba expressed hope that Patriarch Sako refrains from accusing the Apostolic Nuncio to Iraq of ignorance, as the Nuncio is the legitimate representative of Pope Francis in Iraq.

He appealed for an end to personal conflicts, urging a halt to offensive statements against the Syriac Church or heads of Christian denominations in Iraq, as Sako’s acceptability is reportedly minimal among them.

Archbishop Aba warned Sako against slandering the Archdiocese, emphasizing that such actions could result in disciplinary measures by Church forums in the Vatican. The statement affirmed the Archbishop’s intent to take necessary legal measures in accordance with ecclesiastical laws and did not rule out the possibility of legal action under Iraqi law, deeming the published statements as defamation and direct slander.

The statement also included words of encouragement and comfort from Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Mosul and its Environs, Mor Younan Hinno. Mor Younan Hinno characterized Sako’s statements as inflammatory and unjustified, warning that they exacerbate the divide between Catholic Churches.

This response comes after Patriarch Sako categorized archbishops in Iraq into three types in an article published on the Chaldean Patriarchate website, a move that some perceived as an infringement and defamation, sparking tensions in the ecclesiastical community.