Kidnapped Priest Found Dead in Iraq

Captors tell church Chaldean archbishop was ill before death

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 13, 2008 12:49 PM CDT

(Newser) – The body of the Chaldean Catholic archbishop who was abducted last month has been found in a shallow grave in northern Iraq, the BBC reports. His kidnappers contacted church officials yesterday to tell them Paulos Faraj Rahho, archbishop of Mosul, had become very sick. They reported his death later that day, and gave directions to his burial site.

The cause of Rahho’s death remains uncertain; no group has claimed credit for killing him. The Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI was deeply saddened; Benedict had called Sunday for Rahho’s release. “The most absurd and unjustified violence continues to afflict the Iraqi people,” said a Vatican spokesman, “and in particular the small Christian community.”

This photo taken in Nov. 2007 shows Chaldean Catholic archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho posing by St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.
This photo taken in Nov. 2007 shows Chaldean Catholic archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho posing by St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.   (AP Photo/Courtesy of Rev. Amer Youkhanna, ho)
This photo taken in Nov. 2007 shows Chaldean Catholic archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho posing by St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.
This photo taken in Nov. 2007 shows Chaldean Catholic archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho posing by St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.   (AP Photo/Courtesy of Rev. Amer Youkhanna, ho)
This photo taken in Nov. 2007 shows Chaldean Catholic archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho posing by St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.
This photo taken in Nov. 2007 shows Chaldean Catholic archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho posing by St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.   (AP Photo/Courtesy of Rev. Amer Youkhanna, ho)
Framed photograph of Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho meeting Pope Benedict XVI  is seen on the wall at his office in church in Mosul, Iraq, March 1, 2008.
Framed photograph of Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho meeting Pope Benedict XVI is seen on the wall at his office in church in Mosul, Iraq, March 1, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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