Iraqi priests sanctioned for seeking asylum without having proper consent

Twelve Chaldean religious men and priests living in the United States, Canada, Australia and Sweden have been suspended from exercising their priestly ministry for not receiving permission from their superiors before emigrating from Iraq.

At least three of those suspended had been serving the Chaldean diaspora in the Eparchy of St Peter the Apostle of San Diego since leaving Iraq.

The sanctions went into effect October 22 following repeated, but “unfortunately unfruitful ultimatums” from the men’s religious orders or bishops, said a written decree signed by Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad.

After informing the Vatican Congregation for Eastern Churches, and consulting the permanent Synod of the Chaldean Church and the men’s superiors, Patriarch Sako announced last month that there would be canonical penalties for those who did not speak with their bishop or the superior of their religious community about either returning to their community or working out a potential transfer.

Those who failed to take those steps before October 22 were to be suspended from the priesthood.