As a somber reminder that the global Catholic Church has more to worry about than just its clergy abuse scandal and divisive social issues, Pope Benedict has just sent a telegram (I find it unintentionally hilarious that the Vatican still uses these) to Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa of Mosul in Iraq, expressing condolences over the four Christians killed by explosions over the weekend.

The Catholic News Agency story doesn’t say whether the victims were Catholic, but I assume that’s the case — the BBC reports that most of Iraq’s estimated 700,000 Christians are Chaldeans, Catholics who are autonomous from Rome but recognize the Pope’s authority.

The BBC story also notes that the recent violence in the Mosul region, which has claimed the lives of at least eight Christians and forced hundeds of families to flee, has prompted Pope Benedict to issue an appeal to Iraqi authorities to do more to help protect religious minorities.

Catholic News Service reports that Iraqi Christians “feel at a loss as to how to protect themselves from further attacks,” given that military escorts don’t seem to be helping, either.

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