Pope Francis Donates $1 Million to Iraqi Refugees

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has given $1 million as a personal contribution to help Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq who have been forced from their homes, according to his personal envoy to the country.
Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, visited Erbil as Pope Francis’ envoy from Aug. 12-20.
Erbil, where more than 70,000 Christians have fled from the Islamic State, is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan and is within 50 miles of territory held by the Islamic State.
Cardinal Filoni met in private with Pope Francis the day after he returned to Rome and spoke to CNA Aug. 22.
Cardinal Filoni said he carried with him one-tenth of the Pope’s contribution and that “75% of the money was delivered to Catholics and the remaining 25% to the Yazidi community.”
The Islamic State is a recently established caliphate that has persecuted all non-Sunnis in its territory, which extends across swaths of Iraq and Syria.
“Pope Francis gave me a humanitarian mission, not a diplomatic mission, and this is what I always emphasized to Iraqi authorities,” Cardinal Filoni said.
The Pope’s decision to send a personal envoy to Iraq, the cardinal said, “meant to me that, if he had been able to go, he would have.”
Cardinal Filoni recounted that Pope Francis entrusted him with letters for Kurdish President Masoud Barzani and Iraqi President Fuad Masum, presenting him “as his personal envoy and expressing his concern for what Christians and minorities in general are suffering, because they have been uprooted from their lands and persecuted.”
The Islamic State has forced more than 1.2 million Christians, Yazidis and Shia Muslims from their homes in Iraq, under threat of death or heavy fines if they do not convert.
In the face of such violence, Cardinal Filoni said intervention to stop the aggressor is a legitimate option.
“The Church does not back any war. The right to defend one’s self is legitimate. But our Christians in Iraq have no arms. Therefore, it is necessary that someone — in this case, the legitimate authorities of the country — should defend minorities, especially those most in danger.”

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4 thoughts on “Pope Francis Donates $1 Million to Iraqi Refugees

    • here on earth, the Church has a universal collection fund called “Peter’s Pence”, taken-up annually in all the Catholic Churches throughout the world. These monies are at the disposal of the Pope to use for all or any missionary or humanitarian efforts, where he deems necessary/worthy to be given.

      • Was it “peters pence” that built and maintains such extravagance as the basilica? The sinful extravagance of the RCC was built on the backs of the poor so forgive me if I’m not impressed when they give a little bit back.

      • BJ: it was not “Peter’s Pence” that built nor maintains St. Peter’s basilica, or any other façade–given over to “extravagance” for the “Glory of God”. Is Heaven “sinfully extravagant”? The Church’s edifice houses the ‘holy of holies’ on earth – a Living Monument of Christ’s Presence and the proclamation of His Word, giving witness to the rich and poor, learned and simple alike, reflecting Her Beauty heavenward! The great architects, artists and artisans–were they “sinfully extravagant”?; ask Michaelangelo, Raphael,…if they were taking from the poor – or rather, giving back to them–being able to ‘touch beauty’–to ‘touch God’!

        I once had a boss who complained that all of the wealth of the RCC should be sold and ‘given to the poor’. The answer?: Jesus said “the poor you will always have with you, Me you shall not always have”. Even if all were sold and given to the poor, not only would there still be the poor, but the poor would be ‘spiritually impoverished’ as well – they could not see the ‘Beauty,Goodness and Truth of God’–reflected in His temple. The poor are the ‘treasures of the Church’ and the Church is here to house Her treasures, lifting-up their minds and hearts to God and their True heavenly home. So in effect what you say is true, the Church not only lifts-up the poor, but IS lifted-up “on the backs of the poor”!
        We are helping each other to heaven! God Bless!

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