Chaldeans Face Moral Risks in United States
U.S. bishops from the Eastern Catholic churches concelebrate a Maronite Divine Service of the Holy Mysteries at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome May 17. Bishops from the Chaldean, Ruthenian, Maronite, Ukrainian, Armenian, Melkite, Syria c and Romanian Catholic churches were making their ad limina visits to the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
18 May 2012 by Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Iraqi Catholics fleeing
physical danger in their homeland often find themselves
unprepared for the moral threats awaiting their families in
the United States, said the head of Chaldean Catholics in
the Western U.S.
Seeing a lack of respect for the unborn, altered
definitions of marriage and a general disregard for
Christian values means Chaldean Catholic families
settling in the United States often find themselves in a
world they are not at all accustomed to, Chaldean Bishop
Sarhad Y. Jammo of the Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle
of San Diego told Catholic News Service May 17.
The challenge for many parents is not so much the
usual difficulties with the language or acclimating to a
new culture, but rather being afraid of what their children
may be exposed to every day in the media and many
schools, he said.
This is the irony, that is the dilemma, he said.
They escape from gunfire in Iraq trying to save their
family so they go to the United States and they find
physical security, but then they face moral attack, he
Because of a lack of moral grounding in the wider
culture, families turn to the church for help as they
struggle to maintain their Christian identity and live
according to the Gospel, Bishop Jammo said.
The bishop was in Rome for his ad limina visit
to the Vatican together with other heads of Eastern
Catholic dioceses in the United States.
Chaldean Catholics are the largest Eastern-rite
community in the United States and their numbers are
steadily growing. The Chaldean eparchies based in Detroit
and San Diego count about 165,000 faithful, according to
Vatican statistics for 2011.
Bishop Jammo said their growing numbers are
due to a large and steady stream of refugees since the
U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Chaldean Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim, who heads
the Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle of Detroit, the
diocese for Chaldean Catholics in the Eastern United
States, said the biggest challenge in his diocese is how to
help families who have been unable to go to church for
Many of the refugees spent five to 10 years in a
transit country such as Lebanon, Jordan or Syria before
they found a home in the United States, he said.
Tags: Vatican United States Iraqi Christians Eastern Churches Chaldeans