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Naming Chaldean cardinal is gift to struggling church

BEIRUT — Pope Francis' naming of Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako as cardinal is a gift to the Chaldean Catholic church, which has been struggling in the face of terrorism, said an Iraqi archbishop.

Chaldean Archbishop Yousif Thomas Mirkis of Kirkuk and Sulaimaniyah called Cardinal-designate Sako a "courageous voice. He's transparent in his way to guide our church and with his presence.

He's a very special man, spiritually," Archbishop Mirkis said, adding that under Patriarch Sako's leadership there has been a particular focus on new vocations. "The Catholic Church is a global church. We are Catholic and this nomination is a sign of our catholicity" as Chaldeans, Archbishop Mirkis added.

Cardinal-designate Sako, 69, is one of 14 new cardinals who will be elevated in a consistory at the Vatican June 29. Pope Francis made the announcement May 20, and Archbishop Mirkis said the following day:

"This is a gift from the pope to our church, all the Chaldean Church, which has been struggling against fanaticism and terrorism all these years and (is) especially meaningful since we gave many martyrs." 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018