Cuban Catholics sharply criticise the communist political and social system in their country and called for fundamental renewal

Appeal, issued on 24 January this year.

  1. Cuban Brothers and Sisters:

As believers in God, priests, consecrated persons, laity, as men and women of good will, as Cubans who love our country and who dream of a bright future for her, we send this message, born of love.

Convinced that, as Father Félix Varela taught us, “there is no Homeland without virtue, nor virtue with impiety,” and that good and peace are only possible with the combination of justice, mercy and truth;

Wishing, like José Martí, for a Republic where the full dignity of every man and woman is worshiped, regardless of their thoughts, their positions, and even their personal sins;

Being consistent with our conscience, which does not allow us to remain silent when faced with the construction of our nation’s present and future; because we don’t want to be “people who wash their hands like the Roman governor and let the water of history run without committing themselves;”

​In communion with the magisterium of the Catholic Bishops of Cuba who, in number 13 of their recent Christmas message, invite us “not to wait for them to give us from above what we must and can build ourselves from below;”

​Inspired by the enlightening message of Saint John Paul II, who, twenty-three years ago, urged us to “be protagonists in our own personal and national history;”

​We want to give voice to our thoughts and feelings—joys and sorrows, frustrations and dreams— knowing that they are not just ours but also of a large part of our Cuban people on each of the shores where the heart of Cuba beats, because we are a single nation, on the island and in the diaspora. “The Cuban suffers, lives and waits here and also suffers, lives and waits out there.”

Cuban Catholics sharply criticise the communist political and social system in their country and called for fundamental renewal
Cuban Catholics sharply criticise the communist political and social system in their country and called for fundamental renewal
  1. “I have heard the cry of my people.”

​The Word of God is light for what our country is livingtoday.

​In the Book of Exodus, the Bible tells us the story of Moses, the man to whom God manifests himself with the intention of freeing his people from slavery in Egypt, and to whom he says: “I have seen the affliction of my people (…) I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them (…) Come, I will send you.”

​God sees, hears and feels with the heart of a Father what his people lives through, and their sadness, anguish and cries do not go unnoticed. But God does not stop with sterile observation; instead, he expresses his compassion as a commitment.

​Yet liberation is not the work of God alone, or of Moses; it is also the work of a people who unite around faith and the desire for freedom. The people have to co-involve themselves, set out on the path, and learn to live in freedom through an immense desert that will demand numerous renunciations, the temptation to prefer certain comforts to freedom, to think that their efforts have been useless, and that they will never reach the future they so yearn for.

​We are convinced that this text speaks to the heart of our present reality. God knows everything, nothing escapes from his hand. The present and future of Cuba are also in his hands. But God works with us, and asks us, like he asked Moses, to enact our share of responsibility and freedom. As Saint Augustine used to say, “The God who created you without you, will not save you without you.”

  1. “I Have Seen…, I Have Heard…, I Know…”

​Dreaming of Cuba and continuing to build our society is possible only if we start with its reality. We contemplate her with immense love, as a son does his mother, and also with a critical eye, as an adult son who has refused to remain immature. We put our synthetic vision here, since social phenomena are always complex.

 

​• Cuban society is diverse and heterogeneous.

​The aspired-for artificial social uniformity no longer exists. Various social and economic strata coexist in Cuba. The presence of social classes and the gradual deepening of their differences is a palpable reality, especially painful when the poorest suffer the onslaught of economic measures that leave them helpless.

​Cuba is also diverse from a political and ideological point of view. There is a sector tied to the official ideology that sustains the State, and there are also numerous sectors in civil society with other ideological orientations that, although not officially recognized, are present, some of them organized, and have a real impact on society.

​Access to the internet and social networks, although limited and monitored, has broken the state barrier that contained and even impeded the flow of information and the ability of the common citizen to generate it. It is precisely this growing phenomenon of social communication that shows that there is a difference between public opinion and officially published opinion. There is a reality that is not published, which is deniedin the name of ideology.

 

​• We are living through the collapse of an economic, political, and social model.

​Although foreseeable because based in a philosophy that ignores the truth about what brings full meaning to human beings, the economic, political, and social system that has defined the destiny of Cuba since 1959 has been incapable of evolving. There have been many proposals to revive it, a sort of endless chain of unfulfilled promises that “this is it.” To this end, the Cuban bishops already warned in the pastoral letter, “Love Hopes All Things,” from 1993, “More than interim emergency means, it is necessary to have an economic project with defined edges, able to inspire and mobilize the energies of the whole people.”

​The continuous, unfulfilled promise has led to exhaustion, as well as a skepticism that falls like a dense cloud over ordinary Cubans. They often feel that they are sinking in despondency because they live in a country whose happy future gets farther and farther away, like the horizon, with each step.

​Right now, we are living with extreme measures. The stores in convertible currency (MLC) and the so-called economic laws make everyday life for the people even more bitter. Their work does not give them access to buy what they need with dignity. They live under the constant threat of shortages, of prices that are practically out of reach, and of having to pay in a foreign currency that with their own efforts they cannot earn. This situation slashes the value of labor and with it, human dignity itself. Depending on what others give for the fruits of your labor inevitably places us in a position of mendacity.

​You cannot separate the economic from the political. As “Love Hopes All Things” already warned in section 46, Cuba needs political changes. Along with this intuition by the Cuban bishops, today there are many committing themselves to peaceful change and, unfortunately, receive repression in response. To insist on overcoming scarcity and bring Cuba to a decent future, the country will have to recognize reality and listen to those who are offering alternatives in good faith. Politics needs to listen to reality and work from there, because otherwise, it becomes ideology. To sacrifice reality on the altar of ideology is an absurdity with terrible consequences.

 

  • A generalized corruption.

​The double standard and lies have become ever more regular elements of our daily lives. A lack of free thought and censorship have encouraged an incoherence between what is thought, said, and done. On the other hand, the near impossibility of living without engaging in something illegal makes the “black market” an indispensable ally for survival and an environment dominated by theft, bribery, and even blackmail. The “every man for himself” atmosphere, where anything goes, shows a corruption that permeates almost all social strata.

​Added to this is the sense that we are constantly being spied on, that we could “fall into disgrace.” That sense, confirmed by the denunciations with which, whether as victims or witness, we are all familiar, plants seeds of doubt, kills trust, and blocks the unity that as a people we sorely need. Sometimes even without any guilt at all, a person can feel afraid due to the “excessive control of the organs of State Security that enters even into people’s strictly personal lives. This is how you can explain that fear that is felt even though we do not know what it is of, as if induced under the veil of intangibility.”

​That same official voice of the State has recognized the need to recover values, but it is not enough to say it, or to threaten severe punishments. What is needed is to remedy the cause, the very origins of the corruption. This “remedying the corruption” necessarily involves protecting the family and renewing the educational system.

 

  • The crisis of the family: a wound to the heart of Cuba.

​The environment that we inhabit directly impacts the Cuban family. Many homes are destabilized by the separation that emigration and missions cause. Often, the only means of bettering one’s quality of life requires separating family members.

​Economic frustration and the exhausting daily struggle to survive cause the loss of a moral horizon. The Cuban family, focused on survival, runs the risk of closing itself off to life. Not infrequently, the announcement of a baby, which should be a cause for hope and joy, becomes the cause of uncertainty and worry, and ends in abortion.

​On the other extreme of the family cycle, the elderly, so often alone, lack the finances to sustain them, despite the increase in pensions, in addition to the absence of essential medications and the attendant feelings.

​It is right to recognize that even in the midst of a crisis, the Cuban people value family and try to create paths to happiness.

 

  • Crisis in the education system.

​Although the Cuban people are literate, the education system is experiencing a crisis. The subordination of educational interests to the political-ideological system has caused that the academic level has declined drastically in the last few decades. This subjugation of education to politics explains the mutilation of critical thought, the imposition of a sole way of thought in which few people believe, the scarcity of means and competent people, the official lack of openness to other forms of education, that students are passed for convenience, and that those whose way of thinking is different from the official one are harassed and even excluded from higher education.

 

  1. The Cry of My People.

​We are living through a critical moment in our nation’s history. The official attempts at responding to it reveal that the crisis involves the very structure of our system, which has shown itself clearly opposed to holding an open, transparent dialogue, and promoting verbal, psychological, and physical violence instead of seeking a realistic and inclusive debate presenting the different proposals and leading to evaluable solutions.

​We need to overcome authoritarianism, so that “the temptation to appeal to the law of force more than the force of law,” and all the children of this land can have an equal seat at the table of a national dialogue, since Cuba is from all Cubans and for all Cubans. It is not ethical to modify our Homeland and give citizenship to a few privileged members of a party.

​As the Cuban bishops already expressed in their messageabout the last Constitutional reform: “The absolute nature of the affirmation [that only in socialism and communism do humans reach their full dignity] that appears in the constitutional text excludes the effective exercise of the right to plurality of thought about man and the ordering of society… it is worth remembering José Martí’s expression: ‘A constitution is a living, practical law that cannot be constructed with ideological elements.’ It is also unethical and indeed, “very debatable that value of punishment to humanize, above all when this rigor is exercised in the scope of citizens’ simple expression of political convictions.”

​Returning to the Biblical story, when God freed His people under the leadership of Moses, He does not speak against the Egyptians (the oppressors). If they had not insisted on continuing in their wickedness, enslaving themselves to the system that they had constructed, could have also listened to the Father’s voice, because He “does not want the death of the sinner, but rather that he be converted from his wicked life.” But the Pharaoh persisted in his injustice and the abuse of the people. Although pretending to listen to Moses, he did not follow through on his promise and over and over went back on his word, and this brought him destruction and death. In this way, Pharaoh and his ministers, who thought they were pursuing the people fleeing slavery, became trapped by their own persecution. This is the drama of human freedom when it props itself up as a god and ends up giving itself over to sin. As Psalm 33 says, “Evil brings death to the wicked.”

 

  1. “Come, I will send you.”

​The Cuban people, although slowly, have been overcoming and unlearning helplessness. This is a very important path to empowerment and recovery of social self-esteem. It is important that we come to feel stronger, that we convince ourselves that we can act and live without being paralyzed by fear, so that we come to express ourselves freely, to seek the good and justice while preserving peace, and to be critical of our reality, because in fact, it is the duty of everyone to contribute to the building of a new Cuba.

​For believers, there is a political-economic-social commitment that comes from faith, which launches us into the world to transform it, to humanize it according to the image of full man that we can see in Christ. As Benedict XVI said, “The right to religious freedom … legitimizes believers to contribute to the building of society. Its reinforcement consolidates coexistence, nurtures hope for a better world, creates favorable conditions for peace and harmonious development, at the same time that it establishes firm foundations to strengthen the rights of future generations.”

​With Pope Francis we are convinced of the need to “converse from the clear, stark truth (…) there is no longer a place for empty diplomacy, for dissimulation, for double speak, for concealment, for good manners that hide reality.” In Cuba, democracy will not be a reality, as long as plurality and diversity of thought are not accepted and respected in the national project, knowing that the authentic freedom of the person “finds its fullness in the exercise of freedom of conscience, the basis and foundation of the other human rights.”

​Governments exist for the people and by the people. Just as a common citizen has rights and duties, so does the State. It is time to overcome the fallacy that we should be grateful for what in reality are the State’s duties. Health, education, social welfare, civil peace, leisure and recreation, democracy and freedom of expression— among others, they are not gifts but rights, and the State exists to guarantee them.

We urgently need:

– A better legal framework. The fact that there are no law firms that work independently of state control promotes impunity for a sector of society tied to the government, while jeopardizing any politically diverse and peacefully presented initiative.

– The recognition of the full citizenship of Cubans residing abroad. It means that they can also actively participate in the decision-making of Cuban society. As happens to all citizens of any democratic country, all Cubans must be able, from their residence abroad, to participate civically in the destiny of their nation.

– Understand what national reconciliation means. As a people, we have unresolved wounds and conflicts. We want to reconcile to live well and in peace, and this will only be possible by recognizing the existence of conflicts and seeking a solution in the midst of them. “When conflicts are not resolved but are hidden or buried in the past, there are silences that can mean becoming accomplices of grave errors and sins. But true reconciliation does not escape conflict but is achieved in conflict, overcoming it through dialogue and transparent, sincere and patient negotiation.”

– Understand the relationship between love and truth. It is acommon mistake to think that the preaching of love excludes telling the truth in its dramatic realism. It will never be wise to twist the truth or acknowledge it only partially. In the encyclical Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis warns us that

It is not a question of proposing a pardon by renouncing one’s rights before a powerful corrupt person, before a criminal or before someone who degrades our dignity. We are called to love everyone, without exception, but to love an oppressor is not to allow him to continue being that way; nor is it making him think that what he does is acceptable. On the contrary, to love him well is to seek in different ways that he stops oppressing, it is to take away that power that he does not know how to use and that disfigures him as a human being. Forgiving does not mean allowing them to continue trampling on their own dignity and that of others (…). Whoever suffers injustice has to vigorously defend his rights and those of his family precisely because he must preserve the dignity that he has been given, a dignity that God loves.

​- Choose the truth. We need to live the truth in every decision of everyday life. This is not to collaborate with what I do not believe, not to participate in violence, acts of repudiation, the denunciation of one’s brother. Why join a parade when I do not share the reasons for the parade? Why nod in a meeting when I disagree? Why be silent when inside me I know they are not telling the truth? Why applaud if I disagree? Why listen to my fears and not to my reason? Living in the truth sometimes comes at a high price, but it makes us internally free, beyond all external coercion. To live in lies is to live in chains, and as the Bayamo Hymn teaches: “To live in chains is to live sunk in shame and disgrace.”

 

  1. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”

​This fundamental option to live in truth and freedom reveals our real power as citizens. We are a sleeping giant that can make Cuba change; it just needs to wake up. Those who close their eyes to the affliction of this people, those who insist that Cuba not change, have the power that we have granted them, thinking that we can do nothing. Some await the change from above, others aspire for a kind of messianic leader to come and fix everything. However – we have already said it – the change begins with us, from within us.

​Let’s set out on the road; let’s stop listening to our fears;let’s believe in our strength as a people. It is important that we convince ourselves that we can do something and that, however humble it may seem, our contribution is powerful. An Italian proverb says that “if a little man in his little world does a little thing, the world changes.” The first step must be to empty ourselves of hatred, because nothing good can be built on hatred. Our first victory will be “that we have no hatred in our hearts.”

​Empty of hatred, we absolutely renounce violence, even verbal aggression, slander, the methods of which those who propose a new path for Cuba are victims today. They are outdated and unworthy of the new Cuba that we are beginning to build. A new Cuba must be humane and humanizing of its citizens. Our path has nothing to do with hatred and violence; and yes, with a unity that does not exclude. Good and necessary change is not possible if we remain divided. We must put down particular interests and think about common projects and aims.

​Let us break the chains, the worst ones being the ones we carry in our minds and hearts. Let us choose the truth, and act like men and women who are already free. “The conquest of freedom in responsibility is an essential task for every person.”Let us listen to our conscience and push with each word and with each action in the correct direction of history, in the direction of the freedom of that new and happy Cuba that has begun to be a reality in us.

 

  1. Epilogue.

​We have shared this reflection out of respect and appreciation for those men and women of good will who in the exercise of their freedom have decided not to profess the faith and who also share our desire for renewal, aware that reality challenges us all and that a Cuba for the good of all can only be built from the sincere contribution of each one.

​We, as believers, consider that it is time, as a people, to return to God. This people, many years ago, turned its back on God, and when a people turns its back on God, it cannot walk. As Saint Augustine used to say, “When you run away from God, everything runs away from you.” And we fled from God, and we welcomed idols, those who promised us a better world without God, also ignoring Martí who warned that “an irreligious people will die, because nothing in it feeds virtue.” Yes, it is time, as a people, to turn our face to God, and to hear again in the burning bush his hopeful words: “I have seen the affliction of my people … and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them…  Come, I will send you.”

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Que signifie pour vous cette visite ?

La visite du Pape nous remontera le moral, plus que toute autre chose. Tous les yeux de la planète seront dirigés vers Baghdeda. Le monde saura ainsi ce qui est arrivé à cette ville : les terribles destructions et la migration forcée. Ce serait également bien si nous recevions ensuite un peu plus d’aide et de soutien. Cette visite est très importante pour nous qui sommes ici, surtout après l’énorme migration forcée de tant des nôtres. Cette visite signifie que nous ne sommes pas seuls et qu’il y a des gens qui prient pour nous. Cela nous donnera de l’espoir, nous encouragera à rester dans notre pays et à ne pas le quitter.

Qu’aimeriez-vous dire au Saint-Père ?

Si j’ai l’occasion de le rencontrer, je voudrais le remercier pour sa visite qui nous rend très heureux, et pour ses prières. Je tiens également à le remercier pour toute l’aide qu’il nous a procurée ces derniers temps. Je n’oublie pas sa grande solidarité et le geste qu’il a fait en vendant aux enchères la Lamborghini qu’on lui avait donnée pour soutenir avec l’argent récolté la reconstruction de la plaine de Ninive. Je voudrais aussi qu’il continue à prier pour nous afin que la paix arrive en Irak.

Qu’aimeriez-vous lui montrer à Qaraqosh/Baghdeda ? Que devrait-il visiter ?

Je voudrais lui montrer l’église historique Al-Tahira et des photos de Baghdeda, je voudrais qu’il voie comment l’État Islamique l’a détruite et comment les gens d’ici ont eu le courage de la reconstruire.

¿Qué significa la visita para usted?
La visita del Papa levantará el ánimo y la moral, más que cualquier otra cosa. Todos los ojos del mundo se dirigirán a Baghdeda. Así, el mundo sabrá lo que le sucedió a esta ciudad. La terrible destrucción y la migración forzada. También sería bueno si luego recibimos más ayuda y apoyo. Esta visita es realmente importante para nosotros, los que estamos aquí, especialmente después de la enorme migración forzada de tantos de los nuestros. La visita significa que no estamos solos y hay quienes rezan por nosotros. Esto nos dará esperanza, nos animará a permanecer en nuestra tierra y no dejarla.

¿Qué le gustaría decirle al santo padre?
Si tengo la oportunidad de encontrarme con él: quiero agradecerle su visita, que nos hace muy felices, y su oración. También quiero darle las gracias por todo lo que nos ha ayudado durante el último periodo. No me olvido de su gran solidaridad y del gesto de subastar el Lamborghini para apoyar con ese dinero la reconstrucción de la llanura de Nínive. También quiero que siga orando por nosotros para que la paz llegue a Irak.

¿Qué le gustaría mostrarle en Baghdeda /Qaraqosh? ¿Qué debería visitar?
Quiero mostrarle la histórica iglesia Al-Tahira y fotos de Baghdeda, quiero que vea cómo fue destruida por ISIS y cómo la gente de aquí ha sido tan fuerte para reconstruirla nuevamente.

Was bedeutet der Besuch für Sie?
Der Besuch des Papstes wird die Stimmung und die Moral heben, mehr als alles andere. Alle Augen der Welt werden auf Baghdida gerichtet sein. Dann wird die Welt erfahren, was mit dieser Stadt passiert ist, die schreckliche Zerstörung und die erzwungene Migration. Es wäre auch gut, wenn wir anschließend mehr Hilfe und Unterstützung bekommen würden. Dieser Besuch ist wirklich wichtig für uns hier, besonders nach der großen Zwangsmigration so vieler unserer Leute. Der Besuch bedeutet, dass wir nicht allein sind, und dass es Menschen gibt, die für uns beten. Das wird uns Hoffnung geben, es wird uns ermutigen, in unserem Land zu bleiben und es nicht zu verlassen.

Was würden Sie dem Heiligen Vater gerne sagen?
Wenn ich die Gelegenheit habe, ihn zu treffen: Ich möchte ihm für seinen Besuch, der uns sehr glücklich macht, und für sein Gebet danken. Ich möchte mich auch bei ihm für alles bedanken, was uns in der letzten Zeit geholfen hat. Ich werde nie seine große Solidarität vergessen sowie die Geste, den Lamborghini zu versteigern (siehe Link zur Meldung), um mit diesem Geld den Wiederaufbau der Ninive-Ebene zu unterstützen. Ich möchte auch, dass er weiterhin für uns betet, damit im Irak Frieden einkehrt.

Was möchten Sie ihm in Baghdida /Karakosch zeigen? Was sollte er besuchen?
Ich möchte ihm die historische Al-Tahira-Kirche zeigen und Bilder von Baghdida, ich möchte, dass er sieht, wie alles von ISIS zerstört wurde und welcher Kraft die Menschen hier es wiederaufgebaut haben.

What does the Pope’s visit mean to you?
The papal visit will lift up our spirits and morale more than anything else. All the eyes of the world will be on Baghdeda. And in this way the world will know what happened to this city. The terrible destruction and the forcible ethnic cleansing. It will also be a good thing if afterwards we get more support and help. This visit is really important to us, to those of us who are living here, especially after the massive ethnic cleansing and expulsion of so many of us. His visit means that we are not alone and that there are people who are praying for us. This will give us fresh hope and encourage us to persevere, here on our own soil, and not leave it.

What would you like to say to the Holy Father?
If I get the opportunity to meet him, I would like to be able to thank him for his visit, which has made us very happy, and for his prayers. I would also like to thank him for all he has done to help us in recent times. I have not forgotten his great gesture of solidarity in auctioning the Lamborghini in order to use the money to help pay for the reconstruction of our homes on the Niniveh plains. I would also like to ask him to continue praying for us and for peace to return to Iraq.

What would you like to show him in Qaraqosh/ Baghdeda? Which places should he visit?
I would like to show him our historic Al-Tahira church, and some photos of Baghdeda. I’d like him to be able to see how it was destroyed by IS and how the people here have worked so hard recently to rebuild it once more.

Qu’est-ce que cette visite signifie pour vous ?

La visite du Pape est ce que nous désirions le plus ici. C’est une grande bénédiction. Nous avons un grand désir de le voir. Ce qui rajoute de l’importance à cette visite, c’est la situation de vulnérabilité que nous, chrétiens, subissons en Irak. Il y a plusieurs raisons à cette fragilité, toutes sont les séquelles de l’État Islamique. Toutes ces destructions ont grandement contribué à l’émigration des chrétiens. De nombreux problèmes pèsent sur nous. Mais par sa visite, le Pape nous donnera de l’espérance et de la confiance, il nous encouragera et réduira notre fardeau. Bien que la situation soit instable en Irak en ce qui concerne la sécurité, tout spécialement dans le domaine politique, on s’attend à ce qu’à l’arrivée du Pape, sa sécurité soit correctement assurée.

Qu’aimeriez-vous dire au Saint-Père ?

Je voudrais lui demander de me donner sa bénédiction, de bénir mon travail et le dévouement des prêtres d’ici, et de bénir le peuple par ses prières. Je voudrais lui demander d’aider tous ceux qui sont en danger dans ce pays, qu’ils soient chrétiens ou musulmans. Qu’il tente de mobiliser les pays du monde entier pour soutenir ce pays qui a besoin d’aide.

Qu’aimeriez-vous lui montrer à Qaraqosh/Baghdeda ? Que devrait-il visiter ?

J’aimerais qu’il visite l’église Al-Tahira, parce que c’est un symbole et un élément du patrimoine de Baghdeda. Cette église est la mère, le foyer et le patrimoine de chacun des habitants de Baghdeda. Nos ancêtres ont construit cette église, nous avons tous le sentiment d’en faire partie. Bien sûr, nous serions heureux qu’il visite de nombreux endroits, des églises, monastères et maisons traditionnelles, et qu’il rencontre également beaucoup de gens qui ont le désir de le voir.

¿Qué significa la visita para usted?
La visita del Papa es lo que más hemos deseado aquí. Es una gran bendición. Sentimos un gran anhelo de verlo. Lo que agrega importancia a esta visita son las condiciones tan vulnerables que sufrimos los cristianos en Irak. Hay varios motivos para esa fragilidad, todas las secuelas que ha dejado el ISIS, esa enorme destrucción ha llevado en gran medida a la emigración de cristianos. Muchos problemas pesan sobre nosotros. Pero cuando nos visite, nos dará esperanza, confianza y aliento y reducirá esta carga. Además del hecho de que la situación de seguridad en Irak, especialmente la política, es inestable, se espera que a la llegada del Papa se garantice su seguridad de manera correcta.

¿Qué le gustaría decirle al santo padre?
Querría pedirle que me dé su bendición, que bendiga mi servicio y la entrega de los sacerdotes aquí y que bendiga al pueblo a través de sus plegarias. Le pido que ayude a todos los que están en peligro en este país, ya sean cristianos o musulmanes. Que intente movilizar a los países del mundo para que apoyen a este país que necesita ayuda.

 ¿Qué le gustaría mostrarle en Baghdeda / Qaraqosh? ¿Qué debería visitar?
Me encantaría que visite la iglesia Al-Tahira, porque es símbolo y patrimonio de Baghdeda. Esta iglesia es madre, hogar y herencia de cada uno de los habitantes de Baghdeda. Nuestros antepasados ​​construyeron esta iglesia, todos nos sentimos parte de ella. Ciertamente, nos alegraría que visitara muchos lugares, iglesias, monasterios y casas tradicionales,  también que vea a muchas personas que anhelan verlo.

Was bedeutet der Besuch für Sie?
Der Besuch des Papstes ist das, was wir uns hier am meisten gewünscht haben. Es ist ein großer Segen. Wir spüren eine starke Sehnsucht, ihn zu sehen. Was diesen Besuch noch wichtiger macht, sind die äußerst prekären Bedingungen, unter denen wir Christen im Irak leiden. Es gibt mehrere Gründe für diese Zerbrechlichkeit. All die Folgen, die ISIS hinterlassen hat, diese enorme Zerstörung hat in großem Maße zur Auswanderung von Christen geführt. Viele Probleme lasten auf uns. Aber wenn er uns besucht, wird er uns Hoffnung, Zuversicht und Ermutigung geben und diese Last verringern. Auch wenn die Sicherheitslage im Irak, insbesondere die politische Situation, instabil ist, hoffen wir, dass bei der Ankunft des Papstes seine Sicherheit ausreichend gewährleistet ist.

 

Was würden Sie dem Heiligen Vater gerne sagen?
Ich möchte ihn bitten, mir seinen Segen zu geben, meinen Dienst und die Hingabe der Priester hier zu segnen und die Menschen durch seine Gebete zu segnen. Ich bitte ihn, all jenen zu helfen, die in diesem Land in Gefahr sind, ob sie nun Christen oder Muslime sind; und die Länder der Welt zu mobilisieren, um dieses Land, das Hilfe braucht, zu unterstützen.

Was möchten Sie ihm in Baghdida / Karakosch zeigen? Was sollte er besuchen?
Ich möchte, dass er die Al-Tahira-Kirche besucht, denn sie ist ein Symbol und Erbe von Baghdida. Diese Kirche ist die Mutter, die Heimat und das Vermächtnis eines jeden einzelnen Menschen in Baghdida. Unsere Vorfahren haben diese Kirche erbaut, wir alle fühlen uns als Teil von ihr. Sicherlich würden wir uns freuen, wenn er viele Orte, Kirchen, Klöster und traditionelle Häuser besuchen würde, und auch, wenn er viele Menschen treffen würde, die sich danach sehnen, ihn zu sehen.

What does the visit mean to you?
The papal visit is the thing we have longed for most of all here. It will be a great blessing. We have a great yearning to see him. What gives added importance to this visit is the so very vulnerable situation that we are suffering as Christians in Iraq. There are many reasons for this vulnerability, including the aftermath of what IS left behind, the enormous destruction which has led in such large measure to the emigration of the Christians. There are many problems weighing on us. But when he comes to visit us, he will give us new hope and confidence and some relief from this burden. In addition there is the fact that the security situation in Iraq, and especially the political situation, is so unstable, so we are hoping that when the Pope does arrive they will guarantee his security in the way that they should.

 

What would you like to say to the Holy Father?
I would like to ask him to give me his blessing, to bless my ministry and the hard work of all the priests here, and also to bless all the people through his prayers. I would ask him to help all those in danger in this country, whether they are Christians or Muslims. And that he might strive to encourage the countries of the world to support this nation, which is truly in need.

What would you like to show him in Qaraqosh/ Baghdeda? What places ought he to visit?
I would love him to visit the Al-Tahira church, because it is a symbol and a rich cultural legacy of Baghdeda. This church is the mother, the home and the inheritance of every one of the inhabitants of Baghdeda. Our forefathers built this church, and we all feel we are a part of it. Of course, we would be happy for him to visit many different places – churches, monasteries and traditional homes – and also for him to be able to meet all the many people who are longing to see him.

Que signifie pour vous cette visite ?

Elle a une valeur morale, et non pas économique. Cette question occupera l’opinion publique mondiale, et tout spécialement irakienne. J’ai l’impression d’y tenir une place importante.

 

Qu’aimeriez-vous dire au Saint-Père ?

Ce sera formidable de faire sa connaissance, et je voudrais lui dire : « Nous avons besoin d’une protection internationale parce que notre communauté chrétienne a subi une migration forcée ».

Qu’aimeriez-vous lui montrer à Qaraqosh/Baghdeda ? Que devrait-il visiter ?

J’aimerais lui montrer les églises et les maisons brûlées, afin qu’il voie les dégâts que l’État Islamique a laissés derrière lui dans cette ville. Et aussi notre Musée du patrimoine de Baghdeda pour lui présenter notre histoire et notre culture.

¿Qué significa la visita para usted?
La visita tiene un valor moral, no económico. Este tema ocupará la opinión pública en el mundo y especialmente en Irak. Siento que tengo un lugar importante en él.

 

¿Qué le gustaría decirle al santo padre?
Será genial conocerlo y querría decirle “necesitamos protección internacional, porque nuestra comunidad cristiana ha sufrido una migración forzada”.

¿Qué le gustaría mostrarle en Baghdeda /Qaraqosh? ¿Qué debería visitar?
Me gustaría mostrarle las iglesias y las casas quemadas, para que vea el daño que dejó ISIS en esta ciudad. Y también nuestro Museo del patrimonio de Baghdeda para presentarle nuestro historia y cultura.

Was bedeutet der Besuch für Sie?
Der Besuch hat einen moralischen Wert, keinen wirtschaftlichen. Er wird die öffentliche Meinung in der Welt und insbesondere im Irak beherrschen. Ich habe das Gefühl, dass ich einen wichtigen Anteil daran habe.

Was würden Sie dem Heiligen Vater gerne sagen?
Es wird großartig sein, ihn zu treffen, und ich möchte ihm sagen: „Wir brauchen internationalen Schutz, weil unsere christliche Gemeinschaft unter der erzwungenen Auswanderung gelitten hat“.

Was möchten Sie ihm in Baghdida /Karakosch zeigen? Was sollte er besuchen?
Ich möchte ihm die Kirchen und ausgebrannten Häuser zeigen, damit er den Schaden sieht, den ISIS in dieser Stadt angerichtet hat. Und auch unser Heimatmuseum in Baghdida, um ihm unsere Geschichte und Kultur näher zu bringen.

What does this visit mean to you?
This visit has a moral value rather than an economic one. This is a topic that will engage public opinion around the world and especially in Iraq. I feel as though I have an important part to play in it.

What would you like to say to the Holy Father?

It would be wonderful to be able to meet him, and I would like to be able to say to him, “We need international protection, because our Christian community was forcibly displaced.”

What would you like to show him in Qaraqosh/ Baghdeda? What places should he visit?
I would like to be able to show him the churches and houses that were burnt out, so that he could see the destruction left behind by IS in this city. And also our Baghdeda Heritage Museum, so that we can show him our history and culture.