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Pope appeals to UN to end tragedy in Iraq

August 13, 2014

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is increasingly indicating support for military action in Iraq to protect Christians and other religious minorities from persecution by the Islamic State.

On Wednesday, the Vatican released a letter Pope Francis sent to the U.N. secretary-general renewing his appeal to the international community “to take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now underway.”

The Vatican’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva went further on Sunday. “Maybe military action is necessary at this moment,” Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said in an interview with Vatican Radio.

And the pope’s ambassador to Baghdad, Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, has indicated support for U.S. airstrikes, telling Vatican Radio: “Unfortunately, the interventions are to repair a situation that perhaps could have been foreseen.”

In his letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, dated Saturday, Francis urged U.N. agencies to come to the aid of religious minorities forced out of their homes.

While not overtly supporting the use of force, Francis has been stepping up his denunciation of the attacks against Christians and religious minorities.

“The violent attacks that are sweeping across northern Iraq cannot but awaken the consciences of all men and women of goodwill to concrete acts of solidarity,” he wrote.

Francis has also sent a personal envoy, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, to provide the victims with emergency funding and to meet with Iraqi and Kurdish leaders.

Update hourly