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Violence Should not Call for more Violence, Says Chaldean Bishop
By Huda Metti :: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 :: 42143 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Law & Order, Government & Society

Baghdad, IRAQ – "Violence should not call for more violence! We are on the side of justice, not the death penalty,” Chaldean Bishop Warduni affirmed from Iraq.  "If he were still alive, Archbishop Rahho himself would not permit that someone would die for him.”

Contentions rise high as Chaldeans call on the Iraqi government to spare the life of the man convicted of killing the Archbishop on February, 29 outside of a church.  The Archbishop was leading the Way of the Cross during Lent when Ahmad Ali Ahmad, a ilitant from al-Qaida, led a group to abduct the Archibishop and kill his sub deacons. 

Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Baghdad said, "Let us recall that the principles that have always inspired the Church are forgiveness and reconciliation."

Bishop Warduni was the representative of the Church who tried to contact the kidnappers after they abducted Archbishop Rahho.  For days there was no news from the archbishop or his kidnappers. Finally, after a phone call from the assailants, the archbishop's body was found March 13 in a shallow grave. He was 65.

Other Iraqi bishops have made similar public declarations calling on the Iraqi government to not answer violence with violence. 

"We are in favor of justice, but not of capital punishment," said Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk. Bishop Shlemon Warduni, an auxiliary in Baghdad, agreed, saying that Archbishop Raho was totally dedicated to reconciliation and peace rather than further bloodshed.

On Sunday, it was announced by the Iraqi government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh. that Ahmad Ali Ahmad (A.KA Abu Omar) would be condemned to death for involvement in the crime. No date has been given for his execution. 

Questions still remain as to the motive, directive, and intent of the killing of the Archbishop.  The Iraqi government eagerly looking forward to move beyond the assassination and demonstrate a semblance of law and order. 

Clearly demonstrating the tenants of their faith, the Chaldean church continues to reaffirm its stance, at great risk to themselves, that peace and love of one another is the only answer.

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.