In the two benches reserved for the Chaldean bishops present in Vatican today on the occasion of the priestly ordinations, among them that of Father Robert S. Jarjis of Baghdad, sat also Mgr. Mikhail Jamil, Procurator to the Holy See and the Apostolic Visitator in Europe for the Syriac Catholic church, and Mgr.Bawai Soro, a figure that has aroused in recent years several controversies in the United States.
Bishop of the Holy Apostolic Assyrian Church of the East led by Patriarch Mar Dhinka IV who lives in Chicago, Mar Bawai was suspended by the synod held in November 2005. The suspension was followed by a period of sharp contrasts within the Assyrian church that led to a lawsuit at the Supreme Court of Santa Clara County, California, focusing on the request by the Assyrian Church of the return of all properties of the same church still under control of Mar Bawai Soro. On 3 November 2007 in an official statement Mar Bawai accepted the decision of the court in favour of the Assyrian church saying that he had no intention to appeal, and restating his intentions to "restoring unity among all branches of the Church of the East, bridging the theological gap with the Protestants, re-establishing communion with other Christians, financially helping our needy people in the Middle East and bringing unity to the Chaldo-Assyrian community of Iraq." In the same statement Mar Bawai, in paragraph 3, stated that: "In the past two years I have stated several times that our side would not establish a new independent branch of the Church of the East, nor would it abandon or replace Church of the East tradition with another one. We are and shall always remain faithful to the Lord, worshipping Him within the Church of the East patrimony. Practically speaking this means that we, as a Diocese (i.e. a bishop, priests, deacons and faithful) shall unite with one of the two remaining branches of the Church of the East tradition: either The Ancient Church of the East or the Chaldean Catholic Church." The road to unity required by Mar Bawai’s declaration preceded, as announced, by contacts with both churches (Ancient of the East and Chaldean) took another important step on January 27, 2008 with the birth of ACAD, "Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Diocese" led by Mar Bawai, in the declaration of intents of which adopted in Dublin (California) is stated the willingness to "enter full communion with the Catholic church" and "to resume church unity with the Chaldean Catholic church" and to begin a "process of negotiation with respective Church authorities to define a concrete model of this union.” A process of unity welcomed with joy by Mgr. Sarhad Y. Jammo, Chaldean bishop of the Western United States who in an open letter dated February 11, 2008 and entitled "United in one church" called, as the ultimate goal "full communion and factual ecclesiastical unity" between the Catholic Church and other apostolic churches, committing also himself to promote the canonical process with the Holy See and the Patriarchate and the Chaldean synod to "formulate and enact a concrete model of ecclesial unity suitable for all concerned." It is still too early to say if and when this process of unity, this passage of a bishop from a church that does not recognize the authority of the Pope of Rome ( Assyrian Church of the East) to one who does so (Chaldean) will happen. Vatican times, is well known, especially in such difficult cases are long. Certainly this process will be facilitated, and perhaps accelerated, by the background of Mar Bawai, committed since 1984 to promote the dialogue between the churches, and by the support Mgr. Sarhad Y. Jammo always granted to him. Equally certainly his very presence in the Vatican and the place of honor reserved to him by the ceremonial could be interpreted as a signal of "unofficial" welcome. Maybe the Holy Church is preparing to welcome among its loving arms a new bishop besides 29 new priests?