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Cardinal Louis Sako (Chaldean Nation)

Iraq’s Supreme Court has dismissed an attempt by the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church to overturn a presidential decree that removed his “institutional recognition”. Source: The Tablet.

The Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, Cardinal Louis Raphaël Sako, had submitted a case to the court after a dispute in July, when President Abdul Latif Rashid rescinded a decree that formally recognised Cardinal Sako as head of the Chaldean Church and “responsible for the endowments of the Church” on his appointment in 2013.

The president’s office insisted this was not intended as a slight but “to correct a legal and constitutional discrepancy”, but Cardinal Sako said it was an attack on the Church which would threaten its position and property.

He said he would not return to the patriarchate’s headquarters in Baghdad until the decree was restored and for the past six months he has moved his residence to the Kurdistan region.

The court ruled on November 14 that it found “nothing to prejudice the validity of the procedures” which revoked the decree. 

The patriarchate issued a statement in response, calling it an “unjust decision” in breach of a 1400-year-old custom and accusing the court and the president of “politicisation” on the grounds that decrees recognising other Iraqi Church leaders have not been revoked.

“The patriarch still deems the revocation of the decree from him as an unjust decision without justification and will not remain silent in demanding his rights,” it said.

Speaking to Asia News at the end of October, Cardinal Sako expressed his fears for the future of Iraq’s Christian population, which has fallen from about 1.5 million before the US-led invasion in 2003 to an estimated 250,000 today.

“The picture is always one of extreme fragility, but Christians cannot live in a climate of persistent insecurity and precariousness,” he said.


Sako condemns ‘unjust’ court rejection of case against Iraqi president (By Patrick Hudson, The Tablet)