بـــطـــريــرك بابـل للــكـلــدان
فطـريـركـــا دببـل دكلـدْيـــــا
Patriarcha Babylonensis Chaldaeorum
Date: 1 September 2018
Evacuated Brethren Bishops
Greetings to the Lord Jesus,
During our Synods and our meetings, I have spoken more than once about sensitive and important current issues: sexual harassment (transgression), transparency in money and will writing. Today, I come back to confirm this in writing.
1- Sexual harassment and concubinage: In light of the strict instructions of the Holy See regarding sexual harassment by some members of the clergy, I ask you to educate priests and warn them about the importance and seriousness of this issue. Frankly, we receive complaints about some, but we do not believe them unless evidence is found, and when there is evidence, we resolve the issue, regardless of the person’s degree… There are some old files about some that are not resolved, and we should pay attention to them. The Pope recommends not to cover up these people because the credibility of the Church is shaken.
2– The issue of financial transparency. At the meeting of the General Assembly of the Congregation of the Eastern Churches last year, I had been asked to present a study in this field to the Patriarchs and Cardinals. The Eastern Synod stresses the importance of paying attention to the issue of church funds, especially in the East: money (cash) and property and their registration.. A specialized and impartial financial committee should be formed in every diocese and the “deputy” method cannot be adopted, as it is an old method, and is not accepted today. Sometimes it happened that money or real estate was registered in the name of the cleric, and when a person dies, the family comes and demand it.. Several cases of this kind have occurred.
I hope to adopt an accurate professional approach based on standards of integrity and transparency so that I do not have to form a financial committee to investigate the truth in some parishes.. The issue of the committee was brought up to me several times, but I postponed it due to circumstances.. I do not doubt the integrity of any of you, but there must be clarity. It is immunity for you and me, otherwise we will be held accountable together.
3– Writing your will (Testament) especially for those in the East, and I have emphasized several times the importance of this subject, but so far few have adhered to it. The bishops should send a copy of their testament to the Patriarchate and the Papal Embassy.
I repeat once again that this letter does not carry a complaint against anyone. Rather, it is my duty to raise awareness and be careful before the ax falls to the head, God forbid.
In the face of a specific procedure against a person who has caused moral or material harm, he makes it clear that when he feels that he is innocent and that the procedure is unfair to him, he can resort to the patriarchal or Roman court.
Note: I have sent a message to His Holiness, Pope Francis, expressing to him the closeness of the Chaldean Church to him and prayers for him in this storm of criticism, especially what was caused by the message of the former Papal Ambassador Vigano
With all due respect
† Patriarch Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako