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Pope: Iraq’s Persecuted Christians Are True, Bold Witnesses of Christ

“This is the church we all love, the church I love! — a mother that has in her heart, the well-being of her children and is willing to give her life for them.”

Christians, however, are not only children of the church, they, too are called to have the same maternal instinct and approach, he said.

“How often we are wimps!” he said, when Christians avoid the duty to share the Gospel and “this maternal courage of the church” with others and help generate a new life in Christ for them.

“The church isn’t just priests and us bishops. No, it’s all of us” and everyone is called to have the same maternal spirit “with the sincere capacity to welcome, forgive, give strength and instill trust and hope. This is what a mother does.”

Later, when greeting newlyweds attending the general audience, the pope told them to stay close to God so their love would be “true and long-lasting.”

“You are courageous, I’m saying that because you have to have courage to get married today! You are the brave ones!” he said to smiles and applause from the young couples.

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The text of the pope’s audience remarks in English is available online at

The text of the pope’s audience remarks in Spanish is available online at

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Tags: Iraq Pope Francis Iraqi Christians Violence against Christians Iraqi Refugees