The Church in Iraq

by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, translated by Edward Condon, Catholic University of America, 277pp, £16.95

I have always enjoyed reading books about the history of Christianity in Iraq, because I spent much of my childhood in Baghdad around Dominican and Franciscan schools and churches. Over the years, I have read several history books that deal with the Iraqi Church, mainly in Arabic and from the Iraqi Church perspective.

Many of these deal with the subject superficially. That has always disappointed me. Cardinal Fernando Filoni, however, probes beneath the surface to uncover the full history of the Iraqi Church.

Cardinal Filoni, the current prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, has the advantage of a Vatican perspective. He provides a reliable account of events surrounding the Iraqi Christian community. His profound appreciation for the Iraqi Church allows him to describe its central concerns and development with insight.

His major contribution is to give a clear and straightforward account of the Vatican’s involvement with the Iraqi Church. As a former apostolic nuncio to Iraq and Jordan, the cardinal is arguably the foremost authority on that relationship.

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