DAILY CATHOLIC     CHRISTMAS ISSUE     December 23-27, 1998     vol. 9, no. 248

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          ROME, 22 (NE) After the ceasing of the recent Anglo-American air bombing over Iraq, the Catholic community in the Mid East country thanked God for listening to their insistent prayers. "We have prayed everyday so that the attacks end. Now we pray to God and we thank Him for the end of the air bombings… Now we can celebrate Christmas," said Father Bassel Marrougi, from the parish Sacred Heart, in Al Wadha, a neighborhood in Northwest Baghdad. Ceasing the attacks five days before the celebration of Christmas has filled with joy the hearts of the catholic Iraqis. The possibility of a new attack and the difficult economic situation that Iraq is going though due to the blockade and the sanctions that the UN has imposed for more than 8 years generate an atmosphere of great suffering and tension in the Iraqi people.

          The Catholic community in Iraq is trying to confront this fact with hope in the Lord and with fervent prayers. The Catholic Church in Iraq, say official sources, has 621,000 members, which represents 3.04% of its population. The bordering countries to Iraq have considerably less: Syria has 295,000 Catholics (2.08%), Kuwait has 152,00 (9.14%), Jordan has 66,000 (1,21%), Turkey has 30,000 (0.05%) and Iran has 13,000 (0,02%). Therefore, within the countries of the region, Iraq is the one that has, by far, the greatest number of Catholics and is the second in percentage compared to its total population. Furthermore, it is one of the Muslim countries where Catholics are best treated.

Article above provided by Noticias Eclesiales at Church News Noticias Eclesiales is not affiliated with the DAILY CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the DAILY CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

December 23-27, 1998       volume 9, no. 248


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