His kidnappers gave word of his death, indicating to the mediators where they could recover the body of the 67-year-old prelate.
"It is a heavy Cross for our Church, ahead of Easter", the Bishop Rabban of Arbil tells AsiaNews in response to the news.
Leaders of the Chaldean Church, including Bishop Shlemon Warduni, brought the body to the hospital in Mosul to ascertain the causes, still unknown, of the archbishop's death.
The funeral will be held tomorrow in the nearby city of Karamles. Archbishop Rahho will be buried near Fr Ragheed, his priest and secretary killed by a terrorist brigade on June 3, 2007, while leaving the church after celebrating Mass.
The archbishop had been very sick. He had suffered a heart attack a few years ago, and since then he had needed to take medication every day. The difficult negotiations for his release carry forward over the past 14 days of his kidnapping had immediately raised concern because of the total absence of direct contact with the hostage.
The conditions posed by the kidnappers—sources in Mosul tell AsiaNews—in addition to an outrageous ransom on the order of millions of dollars, had also included the provision of weapons and the liberation of Arab prisoners held in Kurdish prisons.
The news of Archbishop Rahho's death "profoundly wounds and saddens" the pope, says the director of the Vatican press office, Fr Federico Lombardi. Benedict XVI hopes that "this tragic event may renew once again and with greater force the efforts of all, and in particular of the international community, for the pacification of this greatly tormented country".
Three times in recent days, the pope had launched an appeal for the liberation of the bishop. Numerous Muslim leaders had also spoken out for the release of the archbishop, both Sunnis and Shiites, in Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan, and also condemned the action as "contrary to Islam".
These perverts are the kind that is hijacking the Islam religion. The evil things they do paint a very bad image about Muslims. This causes non-Muslims to also say in a way, "Your Prophet is likable, but you Muslims are not."
A tree is known by its fruit.
By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. A good tree can't produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn't grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:16-20)
May incidents like this show the great contrast between the spirits of the perpetrators and the spirits of those whom they victimize.