Thirty Pope Francis in Iraq Things That Caught My Eye Today

    Pope Francis gives a speech at the Presidential Palace in Baghdad, Iraq, March 5, 2021. (Vatican Media/Handout via Reuters)





    5. Pope recalls Iraqi martyrs, saying violence incompatible with religion

    Cardinal Louis Sako, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, urged the pope to hurry [the victims’] sainthood cause, meaning to publicly acknowledge that the 48 Catholics murdered by five terrorists during Mass were killed in odium fidei, meaning in hatred of their faith.

    Two of those murdered were young priests, along with several children and a pregnant woman.

    6. Pope Francis blesses Marian statue desecrated by Islamic State


    8. Meet the woman behind the visit to Erbil


    10. N ew York Times: In Pictures: Pope Francis in Iraq



    13. Iraqi Catholic leader calls Pope Francis’s trip a ‘miracle’

    “The mentality, the culture, has began to change,” Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako told journalists on Sunday, as he was waiting for Pope Francis to arrive in Qaraqosh from Mosul, two cities devastated by the terrorist from Islamic State between 2014 and 2017.

    “First, the waiting for the pope, and then his presence, have produced a miracle,” Sako said.

    14. Andrea Picciotti-Bayer: Pope’s Visit to Iraq Comes at Crucial Time

    Pope Francis’ visit this week will remind the world of the death-defying courage of Iraq’s religious minorities – their resolute commitment to their faith, the perils they continue to face, and the crucial task of recovery. Nibras Khudaida and others who survived the ISIS-led genocide hope it’s not too late for leaders in Washington to follow his lead.

    15. Pope Francis meets Iraqi Catholics in church where 48 died in 2010 terrorist attack

    16. Pope Francis at the Syro-Catholic Cathedral of “Our Lady of Salvation” in Baghdad:

    Here I think of the familiar image of a carpet. The different Churches present in Iraq, each with its age-old historical, liturgical and spiritual patrimony, are like so many individual coloured threads that, woven together, make up a single beautiful carpet, one that displays not only our fraternity but points also to its source. For God himself is the artist who imagined this carpet, patiently wove it and carefully mends it, desiring us ever to remain closely knit as his sons and daughters. May we thus take to heart the admonition of Saint Ignatius of Antioch: “Let nothing exist among you that may divide you… but let there be one prayer, one mind, one hope, in love and in joy” (Ad Magnesios, 6-7: PL 5, 667).

    17. All the texts can be read here.



    20. NPR: ‘I Come As A Pilgrim’: Pope Francis Begins Historic Visit To Iraq

    Iraq’s Christians probably numbered about 1.5 million in 2003, but as chaos followed the US-led invasion of Iraq, many left the country and there may be as few as 300,000 left. Those gathered for the pope’s visit said he was encouraging them to stay in Iraq, despite adversity, rather than to seek asylum elsewhere.

    “It’s a message from the pope to us,” said Thana Nasser, a doctor who had waited outside the church to see him pass. “It’s a message to everybody to stay in our home, not to go outside – because it’s our land, it’s our family, it’s our everything,” she said.

    21. Iraqi Christians heartened by determination, stubbornness of Pope Francis

    The team preparing for the visit, Rasche said, was also heartened by the stubbornness of Pope Francis “even with all the difficulties of this trip in trying to put it together with our small staff – to see the continuing courage of the Holy Father that just kept saying, ‘I will come’  – you know with rockets attacks and whatever – he has not deterred.”



    24. Statement from the White House:

    To see Pope Francis visit ancient religious sites, including the biblical birthplace of Abraham, spend time with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf, and offer prayers in Mosul — a city that only a few years ago endured the depravity and intolerance of a group like ISIS — is a symbol of hope for the entire world.

    I congratulate the Government and people of Iraq for the care and planning that went into organizing this monumental visit, and continue to admire Pope Francis for his commitment to promoting religious tolerance, the common bonds of our humanity, and interfaith understanding.

    Now please watch that your Iran policy doesn’t hurt them.

    And what a shame he didn’t call mention his fellow persecuted Christians the pope went to Iraq to see and show to the world.

    25. Andrea Picciotti-Bayer: Pope Francis in Iraq Triggers Biden Statement But Is It Enough?






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