Pope John Paul II sent to a message to Iraq's interim president Wednesday, saying he was praying that the hopes of the Iraqi people for "peace, freedom and prosperity" will soon be fulfilled.
The message to Ghazi al-Yawer said the worldwide Catholic Church is offering its support as a "new chapter begins in the life of the nation."
"The Holy Father is confident that all religious groups within the country will be able to make their voices heard," the message said.
Christians in Iraq amount to about 3 percent of the population. Most of them are in fact Chaldean Catholics. The Chaldean Catholic Church is an Eastern Rite Church that is in full communion with our Holy Father and maintains a distinct identity within the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. It does not follow the Latin Rite, and therefore it not "Roman Catholic", but it is in fact wholly Catholic.