CWN - Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako of Baghdad has criticized Western countries for encouraging Christians to leave Iraq.

In a July 3 message to his clergy, the Iraqi prelate said that it was unfortunate that when the Islamic State took control of the city of Mosul and Nineveh Plain region, driving thousands of Christians from their native villages, many were persuaded to emigrate. Now that the region has been liberated, the Chaldean Church and the Iraqi government are encouraging Christians to return and rebuild their homes, but many families are already living abroad.

The Chaldean Patriarch encouraged priests to help their people understand the role of the Church in the “difficult circumstances” of today, to maintain an active Christian witness in Iraq.