Monday, October 15, 2007

Held for Ransom

At his Angelus yesterday, the Pope pleaded for the release of two priests of the Syrian rite who were kidnapped last week in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

With the clerics' ransom set at $1 million, earlier today their bishop denied reports that the priests had been freed:
The ransom demand... is a "figure which we cannot afford," Archbishop of Mosul Baile George Casmoussa told missionary agency MISNA, AIG reported from Vatican City.

KUNA, Kwait's news agency, quoting local sources in Iraq, had reported Monday the priests had been freed.
According to AsiaNews, an Arabic Christian website earlier today "criticise[d] the [Iraqi] central government which 'continues to ignore the problem of Iraqi clergymen' and fails 'to investigate and arrest the culprits.'"

Sources close to the [Baghdad] nunciature told AsiaNews that negotiations are underway and that the Syro-Catholic bishop of Mosul, Mgr Basile George Casmoussa, is working day and night for the release of the two priests....

Fr Mazen Ishoa, 35, and Fr Pius Afas, 60, were kidnapped by unknown people on their way to celebrate mass at Our Lady of Fatima Parish Church in the al-Faisaliya neighbourhood.

Pray for peace, folks... and may its fulfillment begin with each one of us.