Iraqi Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly
Source: Ankawa Online
When Pope Benedict XVI elevated Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly to the rank of a cardinal, I knew the Pope was highlighting the plight of the Iraqi Christian community. The Associated Press reports what I already knew:
Among them was Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, 80, who received special mention in Benedict's homily.
"By calling the patriarch of the Chaldean Church to enter into the College of Cardinals, I wanted to express in a concrete way my spiritual closeness and my affection" to Iraq's Christians, Benedict said to applause.
"Our brothers and sisters in faith are experiencing in the flesh the dramatic consequences of an ongoing conflict and are living in an extremely fragile and delicate political situation," he said, adding that he was praying for peace and reconciliation in the country.
Delly had unusual vestments as well, because he is a patriarch from an Eastern rite church. Rather than wearing the red cassock with white lace or linen surplice that the other cardinals donned, Delly wore all crimson. He also received a round, black-trimmed red hat rather than the three-pointed red "biretta" that each of the other new cardinals were given.
Delly was mentioned by name in an introductory address to the pontiff by the highest-ranking new cardinal, Leonardo Sandri, who said he was carrying out his service "among tears and blood and the painful exodus of so many Christians from the land left by Abraham, our common father in faith and hope."
Cardinal Delly is the ultimate example of humbleness, faith and love of his country. It was evinced by him receiving the loudest applauds when he walked to received his biretta from the Pope. Thanks to the many Iraqis who traveled to Rome to attend the ceremony:
Among the thousands of pilgrims crammed inside the basilica were hundreds of Chaldean Catholics from Iraq, Syria, Jordan, the United States and Europe. Pilgrims who did not get inside the standing-room-only ceremony in the basilica watched in St. Peter's Square. One large group waved two immense Iraqi flags, devoid of Arabic script, cheering and ululating loudly when the pope announced their patriarch's name.
He [Cardinal Delly] said Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Kurds, Christians and other religious and ethnic representatives were in attendance to pay witness to the Iraqi government's desire "that we are still in a united Iraq and that I will continue to serve (my country) with all my strength to the last drop of my blood."
Congratulations to Iraq and Iraqis. Let's hope this elevation brings us closer to each other.