Priest is pressured to leave Afghanistan’s only Catholic church

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Father Giovanni Scalese hopes to be able to return some day to Afghanistan to resume the work of the Church in the country.

Newsroom (September 4, 2021, 2:42 PM, Gaudium Press) “We continue praying for Afghanistan. We cannot abandon this country and its suffering people,” those were the words of Father Giovanni Scalese as soon as he landed in Rome after being forced to leave the only Catholic church in Afghanistan.

Women Religious also had to leave Afghanistan

The Italian religious, who is a member of the congregation of Regular Clerics of St. Paul and was superior of the Catholic mission in Afghanistan, was forced to board a military flight, along with five religious women from the congregation of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta and 14 disabled children who resided in the orphanage run by the Church in Kabul.

Priest did not expect to have to leave Afghanistan in this way

Father Giovanni Scalese, who hopes to return to Afghanistan one day to resume the Church’s work in the country, stresses that he did not expect to have to leave Afghanistan so suddenly and abruptly. “We all hoped for a more negotiated conclusion, a transitional or national unity government. But within days, everything fell apart: government, army, police forces. The Taliban didn’t even fight to take power: they simply took over,” he said.

Taliban prevented a group of religious from accessing the airport

According to the priest, before they could board the flight that would take them to Rome, first making a stopover in Kuwait, the group of religious tried to reach the airport but was prevented by the Taliban. “We were only able to get through the entrance the other night. It was not easy to get through so many people and that enormous tension. The Taliban, among other things, issued a notice that they would close the airport lanes to Afghans and allow only foreigners through,” he explained. (EPC)

Compiled by Sarah Gangl

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